The Washington Post

GDP: 1.5 %

He can blame George Bush. He can whine that he was handed a terrible economy. (Ronald Reagan inherited worse.) But there’s no spin that will make 1.5 percent growth in GDP anything but dismal. It is not a recovery we are in; this is what we need to recover from — anemic growth, endemically high unemployment and record poverty.

What is the president’s big idea? Raise taxes on small business. What is he campaigning on? Mitt Romney’s tax returns. What’s his major rhetorical thrust? Businessmen shouldn’t claim credit for their success.

You know why the media sycophants want to talk about David Cameron (the man who apologized to North Korea for a mix-up with flags and gave Obama smooches in 2008). You understand David Axelrod wants to flog a blind quote in a British newspaper. You can see why Obama isn’t asked hard questions.

The latest news only points up how irrelevant, if not absurd, is most of the media coverage of the presidential campaign. The frenzy to highlight the trivial would be bad enough in good economic times. In the current basket case of an economy, it is farcical.

Jim Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute has two compelling charts. The first shows that we are in “nominal growth in GDP” territory. In other words, with flat economic growth, inflation and population growth mean we are essentially contracting. The second chart compares the Reagan recovery with the Obama non-recovery. He explains:

Earlier this year, the Obama White House predicted the economy would grow 3% in 2012. Today’s GDP report shows that ain’t going to happen. The Commerce Department said the economy grew at an anemic 1.5% annual rate from April through June, after a revised 2.0% in the first quarter. It now seems likely the economy will be lucky to grow at 2% for the entire year. And that’s after growing just 1.8% last year.

Indeed, research from the Federal Reserve finds that that since 1947, when year-over-year real GDP growth falls below 2 percent, recession follows within a year 70% of the time. The U.S. economy remains in the Recession Red Zone.

The new data also show just how weak the Obama recovery has been, expanding at an annual average pace of just 2.2% vs. 5.7% for the Reagan recovery.

In addition, the GDP report shows the Obama administration has continually and wildly overestimated the positive impact of its economic policies, including the $800 billion stimulus plan.

The unemployment numbers will be out a week from today. If they are as grizzly as the GDP report, prepare for a political thunder-clap.

By the way, do you think any of those Democratic senators regret voting to raise taxes this week?

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.


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