Ann Owen

The day the Senate passed a possible blueprint for President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan, Marketplace broadcast an appropriately timed interview with Ann Owen, the Henry Platt Bristol Professor of Economics. The segment addressed the question, how much control do presidents really have over the economy?

Owen answered that although presidents get credit for the economy doing well and blame for the opposite, both are probably misplaced. “Sometimes the groundwork for success has been laid by the previous administration, but the next administration takes the credit or vice versa,” she said. “A lot depends on Congress and monetary policy which the president doesn’t control.”

In this administration, however, Owen feels that President Biden may have more influence than usual. “The underlying problem is a public health crisis. Anything the president can do to address COVID could have a significant impact on the economy.”

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