“Higher gas prices, severe storms and belt-tightening at the Pentagon,” AP Economics writer Jeannine Aversa contends, “slowed the economy in the first three months of the year.” She forget to mention increased federal regulation, regulatory uncertainty and moratoria on energy exploration. And the high corporate tax rate.
New economic data, Neil Irwin reports in the Washington Post, “show the recovery is so weak that it doesn’t take much to knock it off its stride“:
The 1.8 percent pace of increase in gross domestic product in the first quarter, according to a Commerce Department report Thursday, is down from a 3.1 percent gain in the final months of 2010. It is also lower than the level of growth that, over time, would be expected to drive down joblessness. The U.S. economy needs to grow about 2.5 percent annually to keep unemployment steady given continual growth in the labor force and in worker efficiency; even stronger GDP growth is needed to bring unemployment down.
Via Jennifer Rubin who also noted that “inflation also shows a marked change“. We may officially be out of the recession, but Gallup reports that “Twenty-nine percent said the economy is in a depression and 26 percent said it is in a recession, with another 16 percent saying it is ‘slowing down’.” (Via Instapundit.)
This ain’t, as Philip Klein details, Ronald Reagan’s recovery:
. . . first quarter GDP grew at a mere 1.8 percent clip. While the number is an advance estimate and could change, it’s not going to get near the 5.1 percent growth in the comparable quarter during Reagan’s first term (i.e. Q1 1983). And while growth is expected to pick up in the second quarter, it won’t get anywhere near the 9.3 percent rate of 1983’s second quarter. . . .
Yet it’s also important to note that Reagan was also fighting a battle on multiple fronts. He took office after a year of 13.5 percent inflation in 1980, and by 1984 it dropped to 4.3 percent. On the flip side, Obama took over at a time of low inflation, and we’re now starting to see prices rise, especially on food and gas, which Americans tend to notice.
Perhaps the Obama recovery is so anemic is because “the government,” as Irwin reports, “is straining for ways to jump-start the economy.” Government is not going to jump-start this economy. But, there is one thing it can do to bring it back: get out of the way.
UPDATE: The editors of the Washington Examiner show just why Barack Obama in no Ronald Reagan:
The contrasts between Obama and Reagan couldn’t be starker. Reagan signed the biggest tax cut in history, removed burdensome regulations on businesses, and began to release the nation from the choke hold of labor unions, as exemplified by his firing of 11,000 striking air traffic controllers. Obama has pursued the opposite course, opening with an $862 billion economic stimulus package even though similar policies proved ineffective during America’s Great Depression in the 1930s and Japan’s lost decade in the 1990s. He spent over a year pushing for his government takeover of the health care system, legislation that included $813 billion in tax increases in addition to a raft of new regulations on businesses.
Read the whole thing.