But doesn’t this president, like his predecessors, want bounteous economic growth?
Maybe not. First-term presidents want strong economic growth because they think they need it to be re-elected. But Obama has already been re-elected without it.
And economic growth produces things Obama doesn’t like. Some people — and not necessarily those with government subsidies — get very rich. Obama prefers a more equal income distribution. The Depression of the 1930s did a great job of increasing economic equality.
Obama seeks to direct the economy in certain politically correct channels. He delights in subsidizing "green jobs" making solar panels or electric cars. Not coincidentally, losers like Solyndra and Fisker had backing from Obama political insiders.
The oil and natural gas boom ignited by hydraulic fracturing — fracking — on private lands does not delight him so much. He sought credit for it on the campaign trail. But his regulators are itching to stamp it out.
One of the problems of prosperity, from this perspective, is that you can’t predict what will happen next. People operating in free markets produce innovations that no one else anticipates.