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About That Economic Growth



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I admit fully that the point that I am about to make is trivial, but: Amid all the talk about current GDP growth of around 1.5 percent or so, why is the figure adjusted for inflation (the “real” growth rate) not commonly reported? Or am I just missing it? Real GDP growth in the second quarter (at an annual rate) was less than 0.4 percent, seasonally adjusted. U.S. population growth (from April 1, 2010, through July 1, 2011) was 0.9 percent. So on a per capita basis, growth is negative, and all the talk about “slow” growth, “steady improvement,” “movement in the right direction,” etc. is a lot of hooey. Again, am I just missing this discussion in the press? I cannot believe that it is too complex for the journalists. And it strikes me (at a visceral level) that “media bias” is unlikely to be the answer. What am I missing?

— Benjamin Zycher is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute.



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