Kudlow’s Money Politics

Bush Boom Continues

There is no recession. Despite all the doom and gloom from the economic pessimistas, the resilient U.S economy continues moving ahead “‘quarter after quarter, year after year'” defying dire forecasts and delivering positive growth. In fact, we are about to enter the seventh consecutive year of the Bush boom.

The pessimistas are a persistent bunch. In 2006, they were certain a recession was just around the corner. They were wrong. Instead, the economy posted two consecutive quarters of near or above four-percent growth.

Earlier today, a doom and gloom economic forecast from Macro Economic Advisors was released predicting zero percent growth in the fourth quarter. This report is off by at least two percentage points. These guys are going to wind up with egg on their faces.

Here are the facts: Americans are working. The 4.7 percent unemployment number remains at an historical low. On a three-month rolling basis, the U.S. economy has added over 100,000 jobs. Meanwhile, the household job count shows that an average of 303,000 jobs have been added in the last three months. This is noteworthy because it suggests that the job market is turning around.

Hours worked are growing more than 1-percent annually, while workers’ wages are running 3.8 percent, a full percentage point ahead of inflation. As for this week’s productivity report, it was nothing short of spectacular: the 6.3 percent productivity gain was the best in four years. A rise in productivity is good for growth. It’s good for profits. And it’s good for low inflation.

Speaking of inflation, business inflation is down from 3.5 percent just over a year ago to 1.5 percent today. Meanwhile, oil prices have retreated to $88. And, to top it all off, last night we received a tremendous new number showing household net wealth has headed even higher. It stands at a record $59 trillion dollars. That’s more than seven percent above a year ago.

Another factoid worth considering is that mortgage refinancings are soaring at lower rates. Since June, they are up nearly 70 percent, while mortgage rates on 15 and 30-year loans are down nearly a 100 basis points. That is a very positive, very welcome development that ought to cushion the plunge in home sales, and maybe even prices.

Down in Washington, Democrats are stuck with a Keynesian message of economic pessimism, spending increases, and tax hikes to finance their big government proposals. Unfortunately, they still refuse to acknowledge that tax rates have a profound effect on behavior. This kind of tax and spend, big government, Walter Mondale approach may come back to haunt them at the polls next year.

The GOP, on the other hand, has a positive supply-side message of limited government, lower spending, and lower tax rates. And while it’s true that the recent Republican-led Congress failed to adhere to its fiscal lodestars, the statute of limitations is quickly running out on that score.

Incidentally, Democrats have not offered a single spending cut proposal during their time at the helm. Not one. That’s just one reason why “‘not to mention what I expect to be continuing growth in 2008′” I believe the economic pendulum will soon swing in favor of the GOP.

There’s no recession coming. The pessimistas were wrong. It’s not going to happen. At a bare minimum, we are looking at Goldilocks 2.0. (And that’s a minimum). Goldilocks is alive and well. The Bush boom is alive and well. It’s finishing up its sixth consecutive year with more to come. Yes, it’s still the greatest story never told.

Larry Kudlow — Larry Kudlow is the author of JFK and the Reagan Revolution: A Secret History of American Prosperity, written with Brian Domitrovic.

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