The Brookings Brief has a piece by Ben Bernanke on how the Federal Reserve Bank saved the US economy in the aftermath of the historic financial crisis of 2008-2009. It is not entirely without self-interest but it is hard to argue with him especially, as he points out, given the performance of the US economy relative to Europe.
It is instructive to compare recent U.S. economic performance with that of Europe, a major industrialized economy of similar size. There are many differences between the U.S. and Europe, but a critical one is that Europe’s economic orthodoxy has until recently largely blocked the use of monetary or fiscal policy to aid recovery. Economic philosophy, not feasibility, is the constraint: Greece might have limited options, but Germany and several other countries don’t. And the European Central Bank has broader monetary powers than the Fed does.
Europe’s failure to employ monetary and fiscal policy aggressively after the financial crisis is a big reason that eurozone output is today about 0.8% below its precrisis peak. In contrast, the output of the U.S. economy is 8.9% above the earlier peak—an enormous difference in performance.
You only have to look at the respective stock market indices to get some sense that economic indicators are up. (I chose the Russell 2000 as it is a broader group of companies than just the Dow Jones or S&P). I concede not wage growth but on the whole, you only have to look at a 401(k) statement to gauge some sense of this.