Thursday, November 02, 2006


Clinton Boom Ends

Yes, there was a recession in the spring of 2001, if that's what one wants to call it. It was so modest that future generations of economists may revise it away. But the Clinton boom was not just economic growth, new jobs, and falling deficits. It was characterized by an above-trend growth in productivity. Productivity is the real economic gold, the tide that lifts all boats. And now it grinds down With output slowing, the productivity growth of U.S. nonfarm businesses fell to zero in the third quarter, the Labor Department estimated Thursday. Meanwhile, unit labor costs -- a key gauge for measuring inflationary pressures stemming from a tight labor market -- increased at an annualized rate of 3.8%. Over the past year, productivity increased 1.3%, the slowest growth since 1997. It's hard to tell exactly what is going on. But I would suggest that the real al Qaida war strategy-- of attacking our economy by diverting it from productive activity into chasing shadows-- is what we are seeing. Why does Osama bin Laden need jihadis when he has the Republican Party to do exactly what helps him the most?
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