On the eve of the midterm elections, a third-quarter GDP report showing a meager 2 percent growth rate is the final nail in the Obama Democrats’ political coffin.
The economic nails slowly have been hammered into that coffin all summer and fall. A spate of subpar economic statistics has shown the failure of the fiscal-stimulus spending program. And myriad tax and regulatory threats produced by new government policies have created a massive uncertainty overhang and a dismal jobs outlook. American businesses have gone on an investment-capital and hiring strike.
For a White House that bet the ranch on a massive government pump-priming plan, it has all turned out to be a complete failure. The scheduled economic recovery has simply not occurred.
And that’s why a Republican Tea Party tsunami lies just over the horizon. That tidal wave could be even greater than current polling suggests.
It should have been recovery summer, according to the president and his followers. But it is now officially a recovery slump. The entire command-and-control economic philosophy of the Obama Democrats has proven to be a big bust. And they’ll pay a very big price for this.
In fact, the last two GDP reports have averaged less than 2 percent growth, something that qualifies as a growth recession, not a recovery.
Even worse, the GDP deflator -- the broadest inflation measure -- came in at 2.2 percent in the third quarter, following a 2 percent reading in the second quarter. That means inflation is rising faster than real output. Stagflation.
The Bernanke Fed should take notice of this on the eve of its quantitative-easing pump-priming exercise, expected to be announced the day after the election. We are actually experiencing a mini version of stagflationary growth recession.
The spending, taxing, and regulating policies of the Democratic Congress and administration have blocked growth, putting the Fed in a position to provide even more money to chase fewer goods. But in classic Milton Friedman terms, even though the economy is mired in stagnation, that’s still an inflationary prescription.
On top of all that, the depreciating-dollar policies of the Fed have led to a boom in commodity prices, including food and energy -- things ordinary Americans pay for in the course of their typical week.
When the economy came in at 5 percent in the last quarter of 2009, and at 3.7 percent in early 2001, it looked like a recovery scenario. This, of course, followed the Fed’s massive $2 trillion stimulus plan and the more than $1 trillion fiscal stimulus. But those sugar highs quickly evaporated as growth slowed to 1.7 percent in the spring and 2 percent in the summer.