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Old 07-06-2004, 06:51 PM   #1
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Economy Set for Best Growth in 20 Years!

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...onomic_outlook



"WASHINGTON - The economy appears headed for a banner year despite a springtime spike in energy prices and a recent increase in interest rates."



"In fact, many analysts are forecasting that the overall economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, will grow by 4.6 percent or better this year, the fastest in two decades."


"There were strong 4.5 percent growth rates in 1997 and 1999, when Bill Clinton (news - web sites) was president and the country was in the midst of a record 10-year expansion."


"But if this year's growth ends up a bit faster than that, it will be the best since the economy roared ahead at a 7.2 percent rate in 1984, a year when another Republican president Ronald Reagan (news - web sites) was running for re-election."


""We are moving into a sweet spot for the economy with interest rates not too high, jobs coming back and business investment providing strength," said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Bank One in Chicago, who is predicting GDP (news - web sites) growth of 4.8 percent this year."

"They predict the unemployment rate stuck at 5.6 percent for most of this year will improve gradually, to 5.3 percent by December, as a strengthening job market draws people back into the labor force."

"The group projects overall GDP growth will be at a 20-year high of 4.7 percent, based in part on a belief that the Fed will keep to its pledge of moderation in future rate hikes because of the absence of inflation pressures."
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Old 07-06-2004, 10:01 PM   #2
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You know, I am always skeptical of these figures. What does any of this mean for the working class in America? And I think that's the problem; all of these figures are skewed towards business profits, business growth, business stock prices, etc.

I don't know if you've ever been to the CIA factbook, but even they note a problem with America's overall economy, and not just in the short term:

http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/...k/geos/us.html

Quote:
The onrush of technology largely explains the gradual development of a "two-tier labor market" in which those at the bottom lack the education and the professional/technical skills of those at the top and, more and more, fail to get comparable pay raises, health insurance coverage, and other benefits. Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households.

...

Long-term problems include inadequate investment in economic infrastructure, rapidly rising medical and pension costs of an aging population, sizable trade and budget deficits, and stagnation of family income in the lower economic groups.
I'm shocked to see the CIA be so candid! All of it is true. That's generally why I'm so cynical over these numbers. They are meaningless to the average individual, but probably good for the stockholder. Whoop-de-fucking-do for them. As someone with a great grasp of technology and one month away from completing my M.A., I'm statistically headed for that top 20%, but I also don't want to live in a highly stratified nation with an unofficial economic apartheid.

And I make these comments independent of the fact that Bush is currently president. These are long running issues that have existed at least since the 1980s, and if Kerry is elected in November, he'll inherit this 20-year legacy as well. But my point has to be that I'm tired of these meaningless numbers.

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Old 07-07-2004, 12:11 AM   #3
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The numbers are not meaningless at all and economist use them to gauge the strength and health of the economy. Such numbers are good news for everyone regardless of their economic situation. You can't make the arguement that lower unemployment and higher GDP growth is a bad a thing even for someone on the bottom of the economic ladder.

No one claims that everything is perfect, it never has been. But Americans are currently experiencing the highest standard of living in their history. People live longer, are healthier, are better educated, have more money, and more opportunities, than at any time in our history.

The problems sited in the CIA Factbook can be found in most industrialized countries and are definitely not unique to America. The improved economy makes it easier to combat those problems.

In the United Nations 2003 "Human Development Report" which measures and ranks countries according to standard of living, The United States placed 7th in the world. Only the Netherlands, Belguim, Australia, Sweden, Iceland, and Norway ranked higher than the United States in Standard of Living.

Countries like Canada, Germany, France, Ireland, Finland, Lux., New Zealand, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Japan all rank behind the United States in Standard of Living.


The new economic numbers are good and are certainly not meaningless as Clinton himself would point out in the 1990s. No country is without problems, but there are reasons the United States has the 7th highest standard of living in the world and is getting ready to improve on that position, especially with these new numbers that blow just about any of the numbers for Europe out of the water.
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Old 07-07-2004, 11:24 AM   #4
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The measuring stick has been fairly standard for the last few decades. No one complained when good numbers appeared during the mid-1990's. The tax cuts worked.
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Old 07-07-2004, 11:44 AM   #5
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Did they work? Or was this just inevitable?

Frankly, I tend to err towards the latter. Had the tax cuts been more targeted towards the working class, I think we would have recovered sooner, because it is their spending that drives the economy. Bill Gates' spending does not.

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