Thursday, January 31, 2013

Happy Days Are Here Again!

     The Federal government released the Gross Domestic Product(GDP) data for last year and it showed that the U. S. economy grew at an annual rate of 2.2 percent. There were parades in every city of the country, employers gave their workers the day off with pay, the unemployed wept with joy and businesses everywhere planned for massive expansion of their companies.You say that you missed the celebratory clamour, don't feel bad, everybody did because there was none. In fact even the administration was doing everything it could to move past the report as quickly as possible.
     Truth be told (which is not an activity engaged in by the current administration) the growth rate of 2.2 percent for an economy, which up until the Obama presidency was the engine for world economic growth, is pathetic. The average annual GDP growth rate since the end of World War II is 3.2 percent, far above the average Obama rate which is far less than two percent. This rate is even worse when one considers that GDP should grow at a rate closer to 5 percent in an economic recovery. During the Reagan recovery of the 1980s, the economy saw growth in some quarters as high as 7 percent. By the way, the average GDP growth rate for all eight years of the George W. Bush presidency was just over three percent, and that included the beginning of the current economic downturn.
     The government report also showed a contraction of the economy in the fourth quarter of 2012 by one tenth of one percent. This means that when the inflation rate is factored into the low growth rate, for all intents and purposes, the U. S. economy has slipped back into recession. This is certainly bad news for an economy that has not yet experienced a robust recovery from the recession that began almost 5 years ago. But then, President Obama outlined the slow growth approach to economic recovery just after he was elected in 2008. He specifically said that his desire was to even out the economy so there are no busts or boons. Well he has done just that, he has created an economy that is anemic and treads water in a sea of mediocrity.
     Some on the Left will point to the rise in the stock market as a measure of President Obama's economic success. But the market has not yet reached the level it achieved in October of 2007, even after 6 trillion dollars in new Obama debt. The stock market has only done as well as it has because the Federal Reserve has been printing money and buying U. S. bonds in order to keep interest rates at historically low levels so that money is driven into the equities market. This has hurt the economy more than it has helped because the low rates along with the government's zeal for suing banks has kept them from lending. The low bond rates have also devastated many retirees' incomes that are dependent on higher interest rates in the bond market.
     We are currently in the midst of earnings season for corporate America, and by the reporting you'd think that we are living through the most prosperous times in history. But a fair amount of companies are missing their earnings estimates, estimates that have been lowered to almost nothing on very dismal expectations for growth. Anyone whose memory has not been completely destroyed by the Obama opiate, should remember what a good economy looks and feels like. For the rest of you, just  sing another stanza of  "Happy days are here again" and maybe you can convince yourselves it is true even as the country falls to pieces around you.

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