Tag Archives: GDP

The long term decline in the United States’ GDP

This article begins by focusing on the low GDP numbers that have plagued the Obama administration, but I think this fact is far more significant:

Under previous presidents, real GDP sometimes grew massively during the first quarter. In 1950, under Truman, for example, GDP grew at an annual rate of 16.9 percent in the first quarter. In 1955, under Eisenhower, it grew at a rate of 11.9 percent. Under Johnson, in the first quarters of both 1965 and 1966, it grew at a rate of 10.2 percent. Under Nixon, it grew at 11.1 percent in the first quarter of 1971, and 10.2 percent in the first quarter of 1973, it grew at 10.2 percent. Under Ford, in the first quarter of 1976, it grew at 9.3 percent. Under Reagan, in the first quarter of 1984, real GDP grew at a rate of 8.2 percent.

But since 1984—more than three decades ago–there has been no first quarter, in any year, under any president, when real GDP grew even as fast as 5.0 percent. The closest it came was in the first quarter of 2006, when George W. Bush was president, and it hit 4.9 percent.

Note the trend downward, from 16.9% to 11.9% to 10.2% to 11.1% to 10.2% to 9.3% to 8.2% to less than 5%. The only significant other dominant social change during this seven decade period has been the steady rise of the federal government and its crushing regulatory control over all aspects of American life and business, regardless of which party has been in power. We should therefore not be surprised that there has chronic decline in the U.S.’s economic might during this time period. You can’t create new wealth if everything you do is increasingly supervised by a centralized bureaucracy that knows nothing about your business — but thinks it does.

And obviously, the solution is bigger government. Yup, that’s the answer. Just ask the Soviet Union, or Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders!