If a picture is worth a thousand words, let’s present three of them – each of them drawing from the real GDP index numbers presented in NIPA table 1.1.3 from this source. Real GDP is about 19.5% higher than it was in 2000, which translates into an annual growth rate just over 2.3%. Not exactly what I would call a Bush Boom. Our first graph shows a couple of things. Private consumption (Con) grew more rapidly than GDP, while government purchases at first grew more rapidly but ended up being only 19.6% higher than we observed in 2000. One could say we got fiscal restraint towards the latter part of the Bush administration just as we had to worry about a possible recession.
At the end of the day, however, national savings as a share of GDP has declined since 2000 but the components are fascinating. Export demand started weak but rebounded rising by over 40% during the period. Offsetting that, however, was the over 30% increase in imports. Business or nonresidential investment (Nonresid) began with a decline but eventually rose to 16.2% of its 2000 level. So business investment actually declined relative to GDP despite all those tax breaks designed to give us some sort of supply-side miracle. And the big news is that residential investment, which was almost 35% higher in 2005 than it was in 2000, has plummeted to less than 83% of its 2000 level.
Our last graph shows the components of government purchases. Defense spending is 42.6% higher than it was in 2000, while even Federal nondefense spending is almost 23% higher. So why is overall government purchases not dramatically higher as a share of GDP now versus 2000? Well, it seems that state & local government purchases have gone up by 11.5%.
And yet, the White House can send Dana Perino out to say this:
Ms Perino said Democratic leaders in Congress had floated ideas – such as infrastructure spending and help for state and local governments – that “we did not think would actually stimulate the economy, so we would want to take a look at anything very carefully”.
The election is only two weeks away and then this incompetent crew will be lame ducks!