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The Incredible Shrinking Third Quarter U.S. GDP Figures

December 24th, 2009 Comments off

It was with triumphant fanfare that the Obama administration initially announced that the Q3 results for the U.S. economy showed a robust 3.5% annualized growth, signalling and end to the Great Recession. Predictably, the Dow Jones index soared. Then, somewhat latter, a revised number came in from the Bureau of Economic Analysis; the Q3 GDP growth was a much more modest 2.8%, indicative of a sluggish recovery, at best. But even that is not the end of the story.

A second revision has now been released from the BEA, and it is even more anaemic, a mere 2.2 %. God only knows what another revision might reveal. However, even if the 2.2% positive growth figure holds, it must be recognized that is it based on gimmickry such as the infamous “Cash for Clunkers” program, which merely pushed demand for automobiles forward, in the process artificially inflating the Q3 number. As much as 1.45% of the 2.2% growth came from increased automotive sales due to this boondoggle. Subtract gimmicks and the vast level of increased government spending based on adding substantially to the national debt from the equation, and it becomes clear that the real economy of the United States is still in recession.

 

 

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