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by
Rick Moran

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March 1, 2014 - 10:45 am
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Russia rolling into other countries with impunity. A declining standard of living. Stagnant economic growth. And a weakling in the White House who seems paralyzed to do anything about it at all.

The second decade of the 21st century? Or the late 1970s?

The Carter-Obama comparison isn’t new. But if history does, in fact, have a nasty habit of repeating itself, the last few years have begun to look an awful lot like the Carter era.

Consider: As has too often happened in recent quarters, the rate of growth has been revised downward as more information has been digested. GDP grew at an annualized rate of 2.4% in the fourth quarter of 2013 following an initial estimate of 3.2%. That is not an insignificant fall-off and coupled with the weather-blamed slow growth in the first quarter of this year, the continued paltry job growth, wage stagnation, and a softening housing market, there is a growing belief that this is the new normal and we better get used to it.

The Congressional Budget Office is through waiting for a decent recovery and is now basing its economic projections on the basis that what we’re experiencing in the economy is how it’s going to be for the foreseeable future.

New York Times:

The part of the past that you deem most relevant can be critical in determining your outlook for the future. And nowhere is that clearer than in the changing economic forecasts that come out of the Congressional Budget Office.

This year’s short-term and long-term economic forecasts are substantially worse than last year’s, even though the economy performed better than expected in 2013. What changed was that the C.B.O. economists essentially decided that they would no longer treat the recent years of poor economic performance as a sort of outlier. They have seen enough of a slow economy to begin to think that we should get used to sluggishness.

They think that Americans will earn less than they previously expected, that fewer of them will want jobs and that fewer will get them. They think companies will invest less and earn less. The economy, as measured by growth in real gross domestic product, will settle into a prolonged period in which it grows at an average rate of just 2.1 percent. From 2019 through 2024, job growth will average less than 70,000 a month.

Not only do they forecast an economy with less growth than in any comparable period since the Great Depression, they think interest rates will rise substantially, to the great discomfort of the federal government, which will have to pay ever-rising amounts of interest to service the rising national debt.

Some economists think that the CBO is wrong, that you can’t have slow growth and high interest rates. That may be so. But other economists are forecasting similar doom and gloom.

Reason magazine:

In “Is U.S. Economic Growth Over?,” a 2012 working paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Northwestern University economist Robert Gordon argued that the country was in for 25 to 40 years of very slow growth. In particular, Americans in the bottom 99 percent of the U.S. income distribution could expect only 0.2 percent annual increases in their real per capita disposable incomes. This is dramatically lower than the 2 percent annual increase in incomes that occurred in the century before 2007. Gordon attributed this fall-off in growth to six “headwinds” and the slowing pace of technological innovation.

Gordon extends his analysis in a new study, “The Demise of U.S. Economic Growth: Restatment, Rebuttal, and Reflections.” In this paper, also published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Gordon revisits four of his six growth-slowing headwinds: demography, education, inequality, and government debt. (The other two are globalization and energy and environmental concerns.) He also attempts to bolster his argument that technological progress is stagnating.

The 1980 presidential race featured then-Governor Jerry Brown going on national television and telling Americans that the good times were over and we would have to learn to live in an “age of limits.” This was following Jimmy Carter chiding the American people for having lost faith in government, and the future, because of high inflation, high interest rates, and high unemployment.

The resulting recovery of American economic growth and optimism seems like destiny in hindsight. But Ronald Reagan couldn’t have done it without a resilient citizenry who believed in themselves and a brighter future.

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All Comments   (24)
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'Can history repeat itself?' History already is repeating itself, except this time it's on steriods.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
In an article appearing in Bloomberg Businessweek on 2/27/2014 authored by Karen-Weise where San Francisco schools are faced with an acute teacher shortage coupled with a net decline in married households with children.
This is San Francisco’s legacy by today’s LGBT community. Yes, San Francisco does have every major Information Technology behemoth headquarted in Silicon Valley (nearby) but the 70’s Cultural Revolution cannot be simply tossed aside for its lasting effect on a burgeoning community (Hi-Tech/Hi-salaries) and a corrupt, rotten underbelly (LGBT community).
This is the facade LGBT’ers portray to Americans. This is the font of endless flows of cash for their destructive policies, drives, usurpations, revolts and pressuring of State Legislatures (Arizona’s SB1062, comes to mind). “Angel Investors?” HAH! Diabolical facilitators…a new wrinkle on capitalism’s investing in a non-profit organization.
1970's Haight-Ashbury redux is now on its way to every community across America. This is LGBT’ers game plan and execution underway. Katy-Bar-the-Door. This is proof positive the LGBT Revolutionary Movement is Marxist in its concept, Socialist in its implementation and “collectivist” in practice (holds a communities residents in bondage). Pray. Amen. God Bless America. Join a Tea Party. Support a local committee for:1)term limits, 2)balanced budget and 3)return of States rights. Did anybody know today (3/4/2014)is Texas’ primaries? Support Tea Party Candidates. LGBT'ers reinterpretation of US Constitution, as regards "Civil Rights," is an affront to every rational thinking American, especially SCOTUS who goes along-to get along. Shame! Shame! Shame!
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Actually I've been looking back at the Carter years as the good old days, followed by the happy days of the Reagan Administration.

Now if we could just find a Reagan to follow up this disaster with. Palin/Cruz, Cruz/Palin. Works either way.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
would like to see a comparison of the cost of the average cost of grocery cart in 2008 and 2013
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
When the government tries to control the motion of every gear, the engines of the economy slow down. Surprise!
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Same circus; different clowns!
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ah, Rick got his meds adjusted again. For a brief time, I am sure - tomorrow he will be back to castigating any Republican that dares to float an idea that is counter to the Regressive policies of Democrats and RINOs.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Rick, what a depressing end to your column. It doesn't matter if the Republicans have any better ideas. They need only one idea: come in, clean house, let freedom ring again. Don't try to "convince America" of anything except that when it comes to dealing with the private sector, smaller, less intrusive government = bigger opportunity and a higher standard of living for all.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
As Glenn says, I think Obama=Carter is a best-case scenario.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Carter at least did not have the platform from which to stir up the same racial warfare.

He also was coming off of the Watergate years, when everyone (both left and right) was still suspicious of the Imperial Presidency.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
With Obama = Worse than anything you can imagine, or at least say out loud, probably being closer to reality.

Remember, Obama is the Son of a Thousand Fathers, all Bastards like him.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
If the world does no blow up we may even have another Reagan waiting for us after these fools are gone!
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
I recall the cover of Newsweek in 1980 with an article by Edmund Morris saying the next President couldn't conduct himself like T.R..
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
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