11.02.2014 1

Lackluster recovery weighs on voter concerns


By Robert Romano

Six years after the financial crisis, the economy is still a top concern for the American people.

In a September 25-30 Gallup survey, 86 percent of Democrats and 91 percent of Republicans said the economy was their top issue. 89 percent of Democrats and 83 percent of Republicans said good paying jobs was, too.

One look at the latest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) numbers released on October 30 by the Bureau of Economic Analysis for the third quarter, and it’s little wonder why.

On the surface, 3.5 percent growth annualized sounds okay, but keep in mind that comes after a 2.1 percent contraction in the first quarter, and 4.6 percent growth in the second. Guess what?

That only averages 2 percent annualized growth for the year so far. We could get 4 percent in the fourth quarter but still only average 2.5 percent quarterly growth for the year.

Which undoubtedly means we are looking at less than 3 percent growth for the ninth consecutive year.

That’s right, you have to go all the way back to 2005 to find growth above 3 percent, a harsh indictment of a U.S. economy that has been rather pathetic for nearly a decade.

In fact, in terms of growth, jobs, and everything else, this is the worst post-recession recovery since World War II.

Don’t believe it? This is not a partisan analysis. Just look at 4 year increments following every recession going back that far.

2010 through 2013 only averaged 2.15 percent growth.

2002 through 2005 was 2.95 percent growth.

1992 through 1995 was 3.25 percent growth.

1983 through 1986 was 4.9 percent growth.

1981 through 1984 was 3.15 percent growth.

1976 through 1979 was 4.7 percent growth.

1971 through 1974 was 3.4 percent growth.

1962 through 1965 was 5.7 percent growth.

1959 through 1962 was 4.55 percent growth.

1955 through 1958 was 2.65 percent growth.

1950 through 1953 was 6.4 percent growth.

1948 through 1951 was 5.1 percent growth.

Granted, it was also the worst recession since the end of World War II, but the size of the dip hardly matters. From 1945 through 1947, the economy shrank 4.57 percent every year, but it came roaring back in 1948.

The recovery is not as good as the Obama administration promised, and making matters worse, we’re pretty much due for another recession. Trillions of dollars of fiscal and monetary stimulus have failed.

And the American people, as evidenced by Gallup, know it. As much as anything else, 2014 is a referendum on the success, or lack thereof, of those policies.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.

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