Real GDP Growth Over the Past Seven Years

Cactus lets us know that the BEA is saying real GDP growth for the past year has been anemic. But what about the last seven years as a whole? Sheryl Gay Stolberg recently played Steno Sue with this GOP spin:

Mr. Bush has spent years presiding over an economic climate of growth that would be the envy of most presidents. Yet much to the consternation of his political advisers, he has had trouble getting credit for it, in large part because Americans were consumed by the war in Iraq.

Let’s see – real GDP as of 2007QIV was only 18.1% more than it was as of 2000QIV, which translates into an average annual growth rate of only 2.4%. As Dean Baker notes:

Here the ranking of the presidential terms since 1960 by average annual GDP growth:

Kennedy-Johnson — 5.2%
Clinton — 3.6%
Reagan — 3.4%
Carter — 3.4%
Nixon-Ford — 2.7%
Bush II –2.6%
Bush I –1.9%

President Bush’s growth record is better than his father’s, but it is worse than the record of every other president in the last half century. It’s not clear why they would be envious. It is also not clear what his political advisers have to complain about.

While the cheerleaders of Bush II often tout his record as one of tremendous economic growth, the facts indicate otherwise. And when presented with such facts, the cheerleaders usually find some way to blame Clinton.