How America Ditched Socialism Under Barack Obama

People have a really strong tendency to over-attribute events to whoever happens to be occupying the White House at any given time, as I think can be easily illustrated by this chart showing private sector employment under presidents George W Bush and Barack Obama.

Knowing that a new president took office in January of 2009 and that it takes some time for your policies to be enacted and implemented, you might well conclude that a free market dogmatist was elected in response to the Great Recession and that he immediately set about to reduce the size of the American public sector after years of steady growth and has meanwhile done a pretty decent job of reviving the private sector after the slump he inherited. The reality is more just that state and local government matters a lot in America, and the state and local government sector had been on a long-term growth trajectory since the mid-1980s until interrupted by the Great Recession.