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ICYMI: Make America Grow Again

- April 29, 2016

Excerpts from The Wall Street Journal


By: Editorial Board 
Friday, April 29, 2016

“When did Americans decide that 1% or 2% economic growth is acceptable, that puny wage increases are inevitable, and that we should all merely shrug and get used to the country’s diminished expectations? Those questions come to mind watching the desultory reactions to Thursday’s report that the U.S. economy grew by a meager 0.5% in the first quarter …
 
“President Obama didn’t comment on the first quarter, but the New York Times rolled out an interview with him Thursday, part of a larger apologia for his economic record, in which he offered this beauty: ‘I actually compare our economic performance to how, historically, countries that have wrenching financial crises perform. By that measure, we probably managed this better than any large economy on Earth in modern history’ …
 
“The reality is that the first quarter is further evidence of what has been the weakest economic expansion in the postwar era. The 0.5% growth is subject to revision but it follows 1.4% in the fourth quarter. Growth over the last six months has averaged about 1%, and under 2% over the last 12 months. The usual definition of recession is two consecutive quarters of negative growth, which we barely ducked …
 
“All of this continues the slow-or-slower pace of this entire expansion that began nearly seven years ago. Each year has had a similar GDP dip, and growth has never exceeded 2.5% (2010). The American economy hasn’t grown by more than 3% since 2005 (3.3%), the longest such stretch of malaise that we can find in the Bureau of Economic analysis tables going back to 1930. Even the Great Depression saw a snap back to rapid growth from 1934-1936 …
 
“As for Mr. Obama’s financial-crisis excuse, how many more years can he dine out on that one? The U.S. economy has recovered faster from other deep recessions, including the savings and loan collapse of the early 1990s. The difference is that the government pursued supply-side policies, and in the case of S&Ls rapidly cleaned up the bad assets and didn’t layer on a new wave of regulation.
 
“Faster growth is possible, but it will take better policies …”
 
Read the full editorial here.

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