Friday, September 26, 2014

Bush GDP vs. Obama GDP, same point in their presidencies

GDP under George W. Bush 5.5 years into his presidency was up nearly 35% nominal. Under Obama GDP is up nearly 18%.

Based on that, evidently, Time Magazine's Rana Foroohar is calling Obama's a 3% economy, without mentioning that Bush's was a 6% economy, nor that these figures are nominal as opposed to the generally reported real, inflation-adjusted numbers, here (it's two ways of making the present less intelligible, not more):

"But we’re now in a 3% economy, and I’m writing the same column [as three years ago]. Only this time, the message is more disturbing. Growth is back. Unemployment is down. But only a fraction of the jobs lost during the Great Recession that pay more than $15 per hour have been found. And wage growth is still hovering near zero, where it’s been for the past decade. Something is very, very broken in our economy.

"It’s a change that’s been coming for 20 years."


Yes, wage growth has been flat since 2000. The difference is we still had our higher paying jobs with flat wage growth under Bush, but not now. But that, too, is only nominal. Add in inflation and we are 5.9% behind where we were in 2000, and Obama has done nothing to fix that, either. In fact, it got worse since the so-called recession ended in 2009, 3.1%. And dialing the blame back 20 years to further muddy the waters puts us in year two of the Clinton administration, when Clinton famously broke his promise and raised everyone's taxes, which precipitated one of the biggest and deepest waves of home equity borrowing ever to maintain disappearing lifestyles, helping to gut the basis of the American dream.

But that's not mentioned, either.

That's a lot for a financial journalist not to mention.

2Q2014 GDP, third estimate, comes in at 4.6%, 1Q still -2.1%

The third estimate of 2Q2014 GDP comes in at 4.6%, up from 4.2% a month earlier, mostly on revisions to exports and nonresidential fixed investment. Subtract 1.4 points for inventories and you've basically got 3.2%. Not too shabby but not gangbusters like it ought to be at this stage of the game.

Recall, however, that the export picture in 2Q reflects a dollar index trading in the range of 79, whereas the index has been on a tear since mid-July, marching upward beyond 85 today thus making exports very pricey in 3Q compared to then, portending rough news ahead on that front. Exports of goods are running at about $1.6 trillion nominal annualized in 2Q vs. $1.5 trillion a year ago. Imports of goods, however, which subtract from GDP, still swamp our exports by $800 billion net annually and are also up $100 billion year over year at $2.4 trillion nominal annualized in 2Q. To put that $800 billion in context, consider that total nominal GDP year over year is up only $700 billion. Think what we could be if we were an export powerhouse once again.