You can be sure that policy uncertainty is here to stay


Research shows that uncertainty over U.S. economic policy, measured by news coverage and corroborated by Federal Reserve reports, is on the rise.

Don’t accuse CEOs of whining when they complain that they are hamstrung by Washington’s failure to agree on long-term economic policy. New research shows that policy uncertainty really is higher than ever before — and is damaging the economy.

But don’t accuse President Obama of sparking today’s policy mayhem. It’s true that he has done his part. The administration’s frantic improvising on the Affordable Care Act has spawned chaos in the largest sector of the world’s largest economy. And of the nearly 400 new rules that the Dodd-Frank law requires the administration to write for reorganizing the world’s largest financial sector, only half have been finalized, and the administration has missed about half of its legally mandated deadlines. But in fact economic policy uncertainty has been rising steadily for 50 years, and a new analysis suggests the trend is unlikely to change course.

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