The Anemic Recovery – More on How the National Review Disrespects Its Own Readers

Cactus rightfully mocks Greg Kaza. Kaza is all elated that real GDP growth has been positive for 24 quarters now and notes employment has been growing for 51 months. You know – if you go to any marathon, you’ll notice that the elite runners typically run for less than three hours while some people keep on trucking for about twice that long But all finishers travel the 26.2 mile distance and the winners are the ones who travel the course the fastest.

As Joe Friday used to say: “just the facts, ma’am”. Real GDP in 2007Q3 was 18.1% higher than it was in 2001Q3, which represents an incredibly anemic 2.8% per annum growth rate. Employment over the past seven years has grown by 6.141 million according to the payroll survey – which translates into a 73 thousand per month increase. Kaza touts last month’s 94 thousand increase as great news. But of course, employment has been growing at a slower rate than the adult population.

If such obvious matters were not enough to sit back and mock how incredibly stupid the latest rant from the National Review was, sample a couple of more sentences:

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, this robustness was tied to accelerations in personal consumption and exports … The Bush tax cuts, it turns out, did not wreck the U.S. economy as the partisans predicted time and again.

Excuse me – but Kaza forgot to name the “partisans” who supposedly predicted that the 2001 tax cut would wreck the U.S. economy and for good reason – no one was saying that back in 2001. What the critics did say was that the tax cuts would lower national savings and crowd-out investment and/or net exports. While the tax cuts did appear to increase the ratio of consumption to GDP from 69% as of 2000Q4 to 70% as of 2007Q3, government purchases increased from around 17.5% of GDP in 2000 to almost 19.5% of GDP as of 2007Q3. And yet, Kaza has the audacity to approve of George W. Bush’s claim “The best way to get this economy growing is to let you have more of your own money”. And yes, the drop in national savings from more private consumption and more government purchases has translated into a larger trade deficit as the share of GDP going to exports has not increased nearly as much as the share of GDP going to imports. In the meantime, the share of GDP going to investment has declined from 17.5% as of 2000Q4 to 15.5% as of 2007Q3. The tax cuts of George W. Bush – like the 1981 tax cuts – have led to less investment, which will translate into less long-term growth.

I could ask whether Greg Kaza is really this incredibly stupid to write such pathetic nonsense. I could ask whether Rich Lowry and Jonah Goldberg are also this incredibly stupid to publish such pathetic nonsense. But we’ve seen this crap played out over and over again at the National Review and we’ve seen countless takedowns of their incessant stupidity. No – these fellows are not that stupid. But they assume their readers are. After all – those who write for the National Review look upon their readers as stupid little children who deserve to be lied to. One has to wonder who on earth would anyone bother to pay for this garbage?

Follow-up: Why does these Bush cheerleaders refuse to debate with even the least bit of integrity? We decided to present the facts within the 7-year time frame used by NRO’s Greg Kaza and just look at the absurd comments we got from the likes of Bush cheerleader Formerly Anonymous. He seems to think the correct time frame was the period from mid-2003 to today on some absurd notion that the Bush tax cuts were not completed until 2003. This sort of reminds me of the excuses the Reagan cheerleaders made back in the mid-1980’s. We got a tax cut in 1981 on the heals of the (anemic) 1980-81 “recovery” that Reagan inherited from Carter – but of course after the Carter recession. And then we got a whopper of a recession from the end of 1981 to the end of end of 1982. The Reagan cheerleaders touted the post 1983 period as the Reagan miracle even though all this did was to reverse the Reagan recession. But somehow the 1982 mess was not Reagan’s fault.

OK, real GDP growth since mid-2003 has been just over 3% but that’s still pathetic given how far we were from full employment as of mid-2003. We could have taken this back the full seven years that Kaza suggested in his title and noted that real GDP growth has averaged less than 2.5%. Ah but you say – Bush43 sort of walked into the White House just as a recession was about to start whereas Bush41 left Clinton an economy that was growing. Well – that’s the criteria some other rightwing Bush43 cheerleader uses. So let’s see, the boom during the 1990’s lasted 10 years therefore and this “boom” has lasted only six. But let’s not get too carried away as the Bush41 “boom” had anemic growth rates just as the Bush43 “boom” has witnessed.

But never mind all of that as the mission of the Bush cheerleaders is to drum up as many stupid pieces of “analysis” they can without regard to the fact that their ever changing criteria often contradict each other. After all – those of us who wish to put these issues into some meaningful context are nothing but a bunch of partisans at best and likely Marxists at worse. Of course, it’s funny that the TV where I’m staying has no MSNBC channel and zero volume for CNN (optimal way to watch Lou Dobbs and Larry King!) so I’m stuck with Faux News. Maybe soon I’ll become another Sean Hannity style patriotic American who is just as stupid as the rightwing hacks who have decided to infest our comment box!