Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

16 February 2012

Some Observations on Obama's Economy

Just as Obama and his crony friends like to claim that jobs have been created month after month under his "guidance," but fail to note that the number of jobs is just enough to keep up with the working age population growth corrected for the normal fraction who would want jobs, there is a needed correction for statements on GDP growth.  Obama and his hopey-changey followers like to say that there have been 10 consecutive quarters of GDP growth.  This is true, but not only is the growth anemic by usual standards for a recovery from a sharp recession, but actual progress is only made when the per capita GDP increases.  The U.S. population grew by 9% from 2000 to 2009 according to the last census.  Since the quarterly GDP growth rate is given in annual rate terms, we can simply subtract the 0.9% per year population growth rate from the GDP growth rate to get the per capita growth rate.  With this in mind, let us look at the quarterly GDP growth rate:

We can now readily see that the 0.4% GDP growth rate of the first quarter of 2011 was really a shrinkage of the per capita GDP growth rate of -0.5%.  This is surely nothing for Obama to crow about.  This is a real step backwards on what should normally be a robust recovery from a recession.  Note that while the year of 2010 offered at least some hope of further rebound, unless one was wise enough to subtract out the temporary effects of a huge stimulus with printed money, the year of 2011 in terms of per capita GDP growth is cause for despair.  The 2011 per capita GDP numbers by quarter are then:

1st Quarter, -0.5%
2nd Quarter, 0.4%
3rd Quarter, 0.9%
4th Quarter, 1.9%

With Europe expected to have a loss of GDP in 2012 of about -0.4% and growth expected to slow in most of the world and with Dodd-Frank Too Big to Fail, ObamaCare, the EPA putting more electric generating plants out of business, federal resistance to oil and gas drilling generally continuing, and lowered exports to be expected due to the rest of the world slowing down, these effects will most likely prevent robust recovery in 2012 in the US as well.

Of course, the Obama crew are touting job formation as I noted above and I have shown how hollow that claim is in my recent post No Evidence for a Jobs Recovery.  Let us add a few points to that:
  • 43% of the unemployed have been out of work more than 6 months compared to less than 30% 2.5 years ago.
  • The average unemployment is now 40 weeks, but 2.5 years ago it was 25 weeks.
  • Even using the low-ball BLS unemployment rate, unemployment has been above 8% for 35 months.
Are these really the signs of a decent recovery under the "guidance" of the man who sought out every Marxist professor he could find in college?  Or are we getting just the kind of second dip into near recession conditions that a rational observer would expect from his anti-business, anti-wealth, and anti-income policies?  This horse is swaybacked, crippled, and has rotten teeth.  It is time to transfer to a living mount, even if none of those available are unusually strong.  Living is always something of a positive attribute.


Harry Dale Huffman said...

Charles, I appreciate this analysis.

As for the 2012 election, the electorate showed just how poorly it judges candidates these days when it elected Obama in the first place, and the Conservatives are not helping that perception by treating Mitt Romney--the only candidate with invaluable real-life experience both as a successful businessman and entrepreneur, and the former governor of a state--as their ideological (???) enemy. "What fools these mortals be", seem the words to fit our time.

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

I certainly agree with you Harry that all the signs of disaster were very apparent with Obama. Unfortunately, while John McCain would have been less bad, he was neither inspiring nor wise himself. The McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform bill was very much an attack upon fundamental freedom of speech, which we were very fortunate the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional. Of course, McCain's selection for the Republican nomination was another instance of bad voter judgment.

At this time, I would summarize my own judgments on the Republican candidates as:

Romney - Executive and organizational skills, capable of money management, will slow government growth relative to Obama, not very concerned about individual rights, tends to do whatever he thinks most people want him to do, but not well-connected to any but an elite of professionals, with substantial establishment ties.

Gingrich - Intelligent, but lacking good judgment, fairly independent-minded, but too connected to the Washington and national establishment, knows a great deal about the government, capable of making major cutbacks, but also inclined to start new, major pet projects, talks about individual rights, but is not really committed to them, knows a lot of history, but does not always know its lessons or have good evaluations of it.

Santorum - Hates individuality and individual rights, big government man, supporter of labor unions, hung up on duty and responsibilities of the people to society and to the government, collectivist who would widely use government to use force to impose his values on everyone. Unquestionably, an evil, evil man.

Paul - The one candidate who would greatly cut the size of government, though he would likely so antagonize most of Congress that few cuts would be made. Good domestic and monetary policies if he could get anyone to go along with him. Awful, embarrassing ideas on foreign policy and defense issues in many cases, though cutbacks in foreign aid and defense are needed. Seems to believe that sovereign nations take precedence over sovereign people, except in the case of Americans. Too hesitant to use force to enable trade.

Romney may be the most practical placeholder until the Republicans can produce a good candidate for the presidency. That is not likely to happen in the 2012 election. I see Gingrich and Paul as about the equivalent of Romney, though Romney may have the biggest upside in terms of being someone who will grow into the job. I hope Romney will jettison his Keynesian economic advisers and his science advisers and will produce reasonable budgets. If he will take some advice from Paul Ryan, Mitch Daniels, and Chris Christy, he may do some good.

If Santorum is the nominee, I will vote for Gary Johnson on the Libertarian Party ticket, since Maryland will easily go for Obama and I could not stand the thought of voting for Santorum in such a losing cause.