The Corner

Economy & Business

2.9 Percent

A trader works at the New York Stock Exchange, January 8, 2019. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

That’s how fast the economy grew in 2018, after accounting for inflation, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. By recent standards, that’s quite good. It matches the highest annual growth rate during President Obama’s administration, which happened in 2015. Republicans including President Trump have criticized Obama by noting that he is the first president under whom the economy never had a year of 3 percent growth. At the start of the Trump administration, Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin declared that sustained 3 percent growth was “very achievable.” Based on the annual numbers, though, the under-3-percent streak continues.

The White House prefers to use a different measure of growth: The economy was 3.1 percent larger (again, accounting for inflation) in the fourth quarter of 2018 than in the fourth quarter of 2017. By that measure, the economy turned in the best performance since the second quarter of 2015. Yet it’s also true that growth is decelerating. Growth within the fourth quarter was slower than within the third, which in turn was slower than growth within the second.

In short, our most recent measures suggest that we still have a strong economy. The jury is still out on whether Republican policies are raising economic growth rates over the long term.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

The March for Life Is a March for Truth

Pro-lifers are marching today, as they do every year, to commemorate a great evil that was done in January 1973 and to express solidarity with its innocent victims. The Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade eliminated legal protections for unborn children in all 50 states, and did so without any ... Read More
Law & the Courts

The March for Life Is a March for Truth

Pro-lifers are marching today, as they do every year, to commemorate a great evil that was done in January 1973 and to express solidarity with its innocent victims. The Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade eliminated legal protections for unborn children in all 50 states, and did so without any ... Read More

A Nation of Barbers

It seems almost inevitable that long hair is unwelcome at Barbers Hill High School. There’s a touch of aptronymic poetry in Texas public-school dress-code disputes. When I was in school in the 1980s, at the height of the Satanism panic, the local school-district superintendent circulated a list of ... Read More

A Nation of Barbers

It seems almost inevitable that long hair is unwelcome at Barbers Hill High School. There’s a touch of aptronymic poetry in Texas public-school dress-code disputes. When I was in school in the 1980s, at the height of the Satanism panic, the local school-district superintendent circulated a list of ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Clarence Thomas Speaks

Those who know Justice Clarence Thomas say that any perception of him as dour or phlegmatic couldn't be more off-base. He's a charming, gracious, jovial man, full of bonhomie and easy with a laugh, or so I'm told by people who know him well. On summer breaks he likes to roam around the country in an RV and stay ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Clarence Thomas Speaks

Those who know Justice Clarence Thomas say that any perception of him as dour or phlegmatic couldn't be more off-base. He's a charming, gracious, jovial man, full of bonhomie and easy with a laugh, or so I'm told by people who know him well. On summer breaks he likes to roam around the country in an RV and stay ... Read More
U.S.

Nadler’s Folly

Jerry Nadler must have missed the day in law school where they teach you about persuasion. The House Democrat made a critical error early in the trial of President Trump. He didn’t just say that Republican senators, who voted to begin the proceedings without calling witnesses, were part of a cover-up. He said ... Read More
U.S.

Nadler’s Folly

Jerry Nadler must have missed the day in law school where they teach you about persuasion. The House Democrat made a critical error early in the trial of President Trump. He didn’t just say that Republican senators, who voted to begin the proceedings without calling witnesses, were part of a cover-up. He said ... Read More