Over the last four and a half years, the pace of GDP growth has been a paltry 2.4%, about the same as during the Bush expansion. Ronald Reagan inherited a much tougher unemployment situation than either of the two most recent occupants of the Oval Office, yet he managed 4.8% growth and created many more jobs.

Technology and globalization are most frequently blamed for the listless jobs market, but nothing is particularly novel about the current era. Disruptive technologies began when the arrow replaced the stone, and international commerce has been on the upswing since long before Marco Polo.

In all times, the quality of government policy, business culture and individual initiative decide which societies most effectively exploit new technologies and broader commercial opportunities, and accomplish prosperity and productive employment for the wider citizenry.

The defining difference between the recent two disappointing economic recoveries and the strong record of the 1980s has been the predisposition of presidents from both parties to champion politically expedient remedies: bailouts and entitlements that steal money from promising R&D, public infrastructure and private investment to bolster inefficient hospitals, abusive financial houses and decadent universities.

When the best incomes are to be earned gaming regulators, dodging prosecutors and fielding gladiators for Saturday spectacles, no wonder the economy doesn't grow, and one out of every six adult men is jobless and likely to stay that way. Decadence begets decay.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

Professor Peter Morici, of the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, is a recognized expert on economic policy and international economics. Prior to joining the university, he served as director of the Office of Economics at the U.S. International Trade Commission. He is the author of 18 books and monographs and has published widely in leading public policy and business journals, including the Harvard Business Review and Foreign Policy. Morici has lectured and offered executive programs at more than 100 institutions, including Columbia University, the Harvard Business School and Oxford University. His views are frequently featured on CNN, CBS, BBC, FOX, ABC, CNBC, NPR, NPB and national broadcast networks around the world.

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