Three straight quarters of 3 percent or better hasn't happened in a very long time

Atlanta Fed estimating 3.3 percent GDP growth for fourth quarter of 2017

By —— Bio and Archives--January 15, 2018

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Atlanta Fed estimating 3.3 percent GDP growth for fourth quarter of 2017
It hasn’t happened yet. It’s only a prediction by one outfit whose predictions change frequently. So we’re speculating, not crowing. And even if it happens, it’s not necessarily proof of a long-term trend.

But if you’d like to know how many times the economy grew at 3.0 percent or better three quarters in a row during the Obama presidency, that’s easy.


Is Donald Trump about to nail the hat trick in his very first three quarters as president? The Atlanta Fed thinks so:

The GDPNow model forecast for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the fourth quarter of 2017 is 3.3 percent on January 12, up from 2.8 percent on January 10. The forecast of fourth-quarter real consumer spending growth increased from 3.0 percent to 3.8 percent after this morning’s retail sales report from the U.S. Census Bureau and this morning’s Consumer Price Index release from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Here’s the quarter-by-quarter breakdown since 2011, courtesy of Statista:

Quarter-by-quarter breakdown since 2011

 quarter-by-quarter breakdown since 2011


Obama’s anti-growth economic policies

It’s not as if the economy never had any good short-term runs under Obama. The best was mid-2014, when it enjoyed two quarters whose growth rates could only be described as Reaganesque. If Obama had been able to keep that up consistently throughout his presidency, we would probably be talking about President Hillary right now. Or maybe we’d have ditched the 22nd Amendment so we could have kept Obama.

But of course, Obama wasn’t able to do that. His anti-growth economic policies made it impossible for the economy to keep producing at that level over the long term. For every quarter that sniffed 4.0 percent or better - there were four or five that struggled to get above 2.0 percent. And as you can see, the last two years under Obama were abysmal.

Even 2014 didn’t come in at an average of 3.0 percent because its first quarter was so terrible, so Obama never had a single year with 3.0 percent of annualized growth.

And he never had three consecutive quarters at 3.0 percent, which Trump is on the verge of achieving. And if he does, there should be no party. Growth of 3.0 percent should be a minimum standard. Once we’ve established that we can hit it consistently, the only focus should be on the drive for four - or more. The tax cut makes that possible. But you have to walk before you can run. Let’s see how the 4Q 2017 numbers come in at the end of this month.

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Dan Calabrese -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Dan Calabrese’s column is distributed by HermanCain.com, which can be found at HermanCain.com

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