The President’s Policies: Economic Stimulus for One Industry

President Obama’s policies have been criticized by some as harming the economy.  The “stimulus” policies he has put into place are not working, according to critics.  Indeed, the economic recovery has been unusually slow.  Here and here are two of the many articles critical of the president’s economic policies.  When I Googled “stimulus not working” I got more than 18 million hits!

The president’s policies have been very good for one industry, however: firearms.  With the president embarking on a campaign to ban so-called assault weapons (this article calls them “modern sporting rifles”) and high-capacity magazines, demand has skyrocketed.  That article quotes one manufacturer of AR-15’s as saying they have a one-year backlog of orders.

It’s not only guns.  The president’s policies have stimulated ammunition sales too, to the point that there are widespread shortages.  Here and here are two of the more than 2 million hits I got after Googling “ammunition shortage.”

The president’s strategy to stimulate the firearms industry is not new or untested.  When the federal government required new toilets to limit the water they used per flush in the early 1990s, that increased the demand for high-capacity toilets.  The president’s proposed firearms policies are merely taking a cue from policies that have been proven in the past to increase demand in a particular industry.

The next time you hear someone complain that the president’s policies have not been effective in stimulating the economy, you can cite the firearms industry as one place where they have.

Randall G. Holcombe is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and DeVoe Moore Professor of Economics at Florida State University. His Independent books include Housing America: Building Out of a Crisis (edited with Benjamin Powell); and Writing Off Ideas: Taxation, Foundations, and Philanthropy in America .
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