Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 29, 2010

U.S. ECONOMY KEEPS GROWING, BUT NOT WELL.... The good news is, the U.S. economy continued to grow in the third quarter. The better news is, the economy was even slightly healthier than it was in the second quarter.

The bad news is, this kind of tepid growth isn't even close to what we need for a robust economic recovery.

Economic growth accelerated a bit late this summer, according to new government data, even as the nation remained stuck in a pattern of expansion that is too slow to bring down joblessness.

Gross domestic product expanded at a 2 percent annual rate in the July-through-September quarter, the Commerce Department said Friday, matching economists' forecasts. That was a slight improvement from the 1.7 percent growth rate of the second quarter and the fifth straight quarter of expansion.

Spending by U.S. consumers, the largest component of GDP, spurred the uptick, rising in the third quarter to a 2.6 percent annual rate. The numbers also got a boost from business investment, federal government spending and businesses building inventories. International trade and the housing sector were both drains on economic growth.

The Bloomberg News report noted that the growth in consumer spending was the best in nearly four years, which it considered "a sign the expansion is developing staying power."

That's nice, but 2% growth isn't the kind of economy that will bring down the unemployment rate.

Of course, ideally results like these would encourage policymakers to take additional actions to improve conditions, but that hasn't been possible due to Republican obstructionism this year, and it almost certainly won't happen after the midterms, after GOP candidates make sizable gains and demand an end to any efforts to grow the economy (other than tax cuts for the wealthy, which do little to grow the economy).

And with that, here's another home-made chart, showing GDP numbers by quarter since the Great Recession began in late 2007. The red columns show the economy under the Bush administration; the blue columns show the economy under the Obama administration.

gdp3Q2010.jpg

Steve Benen 9:55 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (3)

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But, look at the bright side. Now, one is able to discuss Proust with your local produce clerk at the super market. We have the highest educated work force ever in grocery stores and super markets across the land. Many with multiple degrees. Boehner wants to take us back to his K-12 days of the '50s and '60s, when many young kids worked their way through school as grocery store employees. Now, the older well educated folks, often, need to work at such in order to survive. By all means, Boehner, take us back to the days of high taxes and a solid middle class, who were able to work for companies with full health care plans and pension plans and who were not let go when they turned 50.

Posted by: berttheclock on October 29, 2010 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

But, look at the bright side. Now, one is able to discuss Proust with your local produce clerk at the super market.

Talk about the chickens coming home to Proust.

Posted by: trex on October 29, 2010 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

It looks like Obama will have two choices after the midterms:

1) He can continue to expect Republicans to fight under Marquis of Queensbury rules, and continue to be surprised each time the Republicans hit him from behind with a tire iron. He can continue to insist that any half-measures that manage to pass Congress are "just right", and alienate the millions of Americans whose lives aren't getting better. And he can make his reelection an even money bet.

or

2) He can look the voters in they eye and tell them that what his administration has done hasn't worked well enough, but he's damn sure not going to allow what the Republicans are proposing because that's what got the country into the mess we're in -- even if it means that the Republicans will shut down the government.

The cynic and disappointed liberal in me expects Obama to chose option one. The patriot in me hopes for option two.

Posted by: SteveT on October 29, 2010 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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