The Best of Times, the Worst of Times
By Arnold Kling
The number of jobs in the nation increased by about 2 percent during Bush’s tenure, the most tepid growth over any eight-year span since data collection began seven decades ago. Gross domestic product, a broad measure of economic output, grew at the slowest pace for a period of that length since the Truman administration.
I decided to look up productivity growth figures at the BLS. In Q4 of 1992, the nonfarm business sector productivity index stood at 101.265. In Q4 of 2000, it was 116.824. In Q3 of 2008, it was 141.207. That means that under President Clinton, productivity rose a total of 15 percent. Under President Bush, productivity rose a total of 21 percent.
I think it is wrong to associate economic performance of any kind with Presidents, but if you are going to play that game, you should mention productivity as well as employment.
On the other hand, Kevin Hassett points out ways in which things definitely got worse.
How could the deficit increase so much [in 2009], so fast? Part of the story is the decline in revenue, which the CBO forecasts will be $166 billion less than it was in 2008, a 6.6 percent decline. But relative to 2000, revenue has actually increased from $2 trillion to a scheduled $2.4 trillion in 2009.
The deficit has skyrocketed because spending has grown from $1.8 trillion in 2000 to a projected $3.5 trillion in 2009, fully 95 percent higher. Of course, all that happened mostly on a Republican watch.
Hassett figures that once the stimulus is thrown in the deficit next year will be $1.7 trillion. Have a nice day.