All is Black, Despair, Ruin

By September 3, 2008Economy, Health Care

Or maybe not. From AFP:

OECD hikes US growth forecast, sees UK recession

The OECD, the Paris-based grouping of 30 developed countries, said the US economy would expand 1.8 percent in 2008, a sharp upward revision from a prediction in June of 1.2 percent.

As the OECD’s news release states, “Weak activity to continue throughout 2008 – Interim economic assessment.” But weak growth IS growth, and with the United States leading the way among the industrialized countries, the relentless downgrading by some of the U.S. economy starts to appear fantastical and damaging and even malicious.

The reliably dispassionate Robert Samuelson took a closer look at the data in his Washington Post column today, “The Real Economic Scorecard.” He observes:

Though echoed by policy wonks, pundits and politicians — last week, Bill Clinton — the conventional wisdom is wrong or, at least, misleading. Here’s a more accurate assessment. For most Americans, living standards are increasing, albeit slowly, over any meaningful period. But rising health spending is eroding take-home pay, and immigrants are boosting both poverty and the lack of health insurance. Unless we control health spending and immigration, the economic report card will continue to disappoint. Unfortunately, neither Obama nor McCain seriously addresses these problems.

So here’s the real situation: The economy grows, mostly, and people are doing better, mostly. And here’s what we know, most definitely: Raising taxes, increasing regulations and sticking it to employers neither spurs growth nor addresses the immigration and health care issues that Samuelson identifies.

Leave a Reply