No Runny Eggs

The repository of one hard-boiled egg from the south suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (and the occassional guest-blogger). The ramblings within may or may not offend, shock and awe you, but they are what I (or my guest-bloggers) think.

Why the POR Economy is not recovering

by @ 11:01 on September 27, 2011. Filed under Economy Held Hostage, Politics - National.

(H/T – Monty)

This is a few months old, but this piece from Rob Arnott relayed by John Mauldin explains why we’re headed into a double-dip recession (all emphasis in the original):

Consider a simple thought experiment. Let’s suppose the government wants to dazzle us with 5% growth next quarter (equivalent to 20% annualized growth!). If they borrow an additional 5% of GDP in new additional debt and spend it immediately, this magnificent GDP growth is achieved! We would all see it as phony growth, sabotaging our national balance sheet—right? Maybe not. We are already borrowing and spending 2% to 3% each quarter, equivalent to 10% to 12% of GDP, and yet few observers have decried this as artificial GDP growth because we’re not accustomed to looking at the underlying GDP before deficit spending!

From this perspective, real GDP seems unreal, at best. GDP that stems from new debt—mainly deficit spending—is phony: it is debt-financed consumption, not prosperity. Isn’t GDP, after excluding net new debt obligations, a more relevant measure? Deficit spending is supposed to trigger growth in the remainder of the economy, net of deficit-financed spending, which we can call our “Structural GDP.” If Structural GDP fails to grow as a consequence of our deficits, then deficit spending has failed in its sole and singular purpose.

By this measure, the economy is no better off than we were in 1998. Indeed, our soverign debt problem is even worse than it appears. From the conclusion:

Even our calculation of the national debt burden (debt/GDP) needs rethinking. Is the family that overextends correct in measuring their debt burden relative to their income plus any new debt that they have accumulated in the past year? Isn’t it more meaningful to compute debt relative to Structural GDP, net of new borrowing?! Our National Debt, poised to cross 100% of GDP this fall, is set to reach 112% of Structural GDP at that same time, even without considering off-balance-sheet debt. Will Rogers put it best: “When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.”

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