Free Markets, Free People

White House, GDP numbers and Orwell’s Ministry of Truth

The more I read political spin these days, the more I feel the shadow of Orwell’s “Ministry of Truth” from “1984” trying to solidify its existence.

Yesterday’s disastrous GDP numbers were followed up by this nonsense from the White House:

The estimates found economic growth slowed to 1.5 percent last quarter – down from 2 percent the previous quarter and 4.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 — but the chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers said that at least it’s still growing.

Yes indeed.  “Still growing”.  That’s a bit like saying a baby born without a brain and being kept alive on life support is “still alive”.

Technically true, but in the case of the baby, a condition everyone would agree is a tragedy.  In the case of this economy, as stated, those numbers are a disaster.

"Today’s report shows that the economy posted its twelfth straight quarter of positive growth," Alan B. Krueger wrote in a statement. "Over the last three years, the economy has expanded by 6.7 percent overall, and the private components of GDP have grown by 9.9 percent."

Yes sir, the private sector is “doing fine”.  9.9% growth in three years!  As for the GDP (which is forecast now to be at an annual rate of 1.3%), hey, it’s still growing.

Unsaid by the spokesman for the Ministry of Truth, is just “growing” just isn’t good enough to be considered “positive”.  Rule of thumb?

Therefore, economists agree the ideal GDP growth rate is more than 2%, but less than 4%. In between the two recessions, the annual economic growth rate was ideal:

  • 2.5% in 2003.
  • 3.9% in 2004.
  • 3.2% in 2005.
  • 2.7% in 2006.
  • 2.0% in 2007.

What economists are also coming to agree on is excessive debt – like that we’ve run up – puts about a 1.2% penalty on GDP.  Or said another way, we’re unlikely to see GDP growth return to the “ideal” anytime soon, given the 10 year plan by government to spend 46 trillion dollars we don’t have.  If you’re wondering what all that means, consult the Japanese economy for the last two decades.  That’s likely the new “normal” with the policies in place from this administration.

But hey, if everyone would rather talk about Mitt Romney’s wonderful European adventure (hey, at least he’s not bowing to everyone in sight), that’s fine.  It is certainly something the Ministry of Truth would approve.


Twitter: @McQandO

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19 Responses to White House, GDP numbers and Orwell’s Ministry of Truth

  • “economists agree the ideal GDP growth rate is more than 2%, but less than 4%.” This is rubbish. Theres no such thing as IDEAL. The problem with some gdp numbers is the dishonest way they calculate it. If the GDP numbers were honest, then the higher the better.
    If the government were honest with the inflation numbers, we are currently at negative GDP, not growing

    • No it’s not rubbish – as characterized, it’s a rule of thumb. Obviously there are times when a higher GDP can be sustained (key point – sustainable growth). The point, however, is that we aren’t even near the rule of thumb and our chances of getting there, given the debt level, are slim. We’re duplicating the Japanese experience right now and, btw, it could get even worse.

    • GDP is not a good measure of anything, anyway. I like using Domestic output, minus the Government involvement.
      That way you are not counting government, (which is a cost) as a measure of growth.

  • The White House is really in overdrive, trying to put their spin on all of the bad/terrible economic news that comes out every week. Sooner or later, one would think they would run out of excuses and the general public would begin to see the truth. The media doesn’t help any by giving them a platform with which to spread their excuses, with little or no investigation.

    • The public DOES see through the BS, which is why consumer confidence is in the toilet and so many other indicators are down, like housing sales.
      But “our plan is working”.  Which outta scare the SPIT out of anyone with a brain.

      • I think a great lot of us (the public) do see through this, but I’m not sure it will be enough. Between the media, and the masses who absolutely drink the Obama Kool Aide, with no questions asked, I wonder if it’s possible for him to loose.

        • I’m on record as saying this won’t even be close.  Sea change election AWAY from the Collective.

          • Sea change election AWAY from the Collective.

            More like a shift from one form of collectivism to another.
            Nothing, and I mean NOTHING is shifting us from collectivism/altruism over to individualism.
            That’s why we’ve bounced from one pole to another throughout our history.

  • From big to small, this is a regime that simply cannot seem to deal with anything truthfully.
    I was impressed yesterday by The Curious Case Of The Locomotive Bust.  Pure MOONBAT contrivance from top to bottom.  And why?  So they could manufacture (hey…someone should be manufacturing SOMETHING) a false narrative to claim a true story is a “conspiracy theory”.

  • From Pres. Composite’s Saturday address…
    The straw-man setup–

    You see, Republicans in Congress and their nominee for President believe that the best way to create prosperity in America is to let it trickle down from the top. They believe that if our country spends trillions more on tax cuts for the wealthy, we’ll somehow create jobs – even if we have to pay for it by gutting things like education and training and by raising middle-class taxes.

    It goes without saying that is a lie, but he continues–

    They’re wrong. And I know they’re wrong because we already tried it that way for most of the last decade. It didn’t work. We’re still paying for trillions of dollars in tax cuts that benefited the wealthiest Americans more than anyone else; tax cuts that didn’t lead to the middle class jobs or higher wages we were promised and that helped take us from record surpluses to record deficits.

    Now, I have no idea how ANYBODY can listen to that and not be enraged by the mendacity in that statement, and the implicit notion we are so stupid as to NOT see it.
    True Ministry of Truth effrontery.

    • It is the difference between believing the government has first rights to all earnings and the belief that those who earn what they earn have first claim. Guess which side Obama comes down on?

      • I mean, JAYSUS, there isn’t ONE truthful statement in the whole thing…!!!!

        • More than any President I’ve experienced – this one truly deserves the title of Liar in Chief.
          When I was young I didn’t understand the, nearly visceral, level dislike some of my elders had for Nixon (or my grandparents for Kennedy, but their problem was their fear he would bow to the Pope, and from knowing his father was a bootlegger).  I GET it now.  I think as we grow older we have less patience for people we intuitively know are misleading us, if not, in the case of the current occupant of 1600, outright lying to us.
          This clown has me wishing William J. Clinton was sitting in the oval office, or, amazingly, even his wife.

          • If you think he’s lying…
            … you don’t understand the way a post-modernist thinks. He doesn’t think he lies. He just thinks there are “multiple truths”, and he wants more people to accept his version.

          • Nah, in his case I think he wants us to accept his version, but I think he actually knows he’s lying, he’s not as deluded as Erb.

    • That, unfortunately, is an argument that’s made quite often:  the tax cuts aren’t generating any jobs.
      It’s a BS argument, because it’s based on the unstated premise that a tax cut causes permanent, irreversible growth.  No one has ever made the case that cutting tax rates will eliminate all future recessions or other economic slowdowns.  But Democrats argue this point time and time again.

      • Yes, of course.  Lies derivative of implicit lies.  This is one reason I seldom try to engage one of our several Collectivists.  I just don’t have the time or patience to dissect their bullshit, so I DO resort to treating them dismissively.  With high contempt.

    • If the current tax rates, a.k.a Bush tax cuts, were a multi-trillion dollar giveaway to the wealthiest Americans, then why is letting them expire, i.e. going back to the Clinton rates, going to whack the middle class?