In the fourth quarter of 1981 and first quarter of 1982, GDP declined by 4.9 percent and 6.4 percent. In second quarter of 1982, it grew by 2.2 percent, but then the economy hiccupped with a 1.5 percent decline in the third quarter.
But it should be no surprise what happened next: Over the subsequent three quarters, GDP grew 0.4 percent, 5 percent and 9.3 percent - and it kept growing all the way through the second quarter of 1990.
It is a historical fact that America’s free market economy goes through cycles of growth and contraction that run on a consistently long-term upward track.
Jennifer Loven, White House correspondent for the Associated Press, pointed this out in the first question of Monday’s press conference.
“Can you talk about what you know or what you’re hearing that would lead you to say that our recession might be permanent, when others in our history have not?” said Ms. Loven. “And do you think that you risk losing some credibility or even talking down the economy by using dire language like that?”
In fact, talking down the economy serves Mr. Obama’s purposes. It helps sell his agenda for massively increasing government.
And it could be a self-fulfilling prophecy: America’s economy has grown in the past because our people have not been overburdened by government. Mr. Obama could cause irreversible decline by creating an unsustainable government.
Terence P. Jeffrey is a nationally syndicated columnist.
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