The Latest “Recovery” Numbers

First, some numbers via The Wall Street Journal:

  • Commerce Department: 2.2% growth for the first quarter of 2012.
    • down from 3% at the end of last year.
    • close to the 1.7% that all of 2011 had.
  • Recession-created pent up demand for cars and trucks accounted for half of that increase in GDP—1.1%.
    • “Real” growth in GDP, then, was 1.1%.
  • Businesses building up inventories accounted for another 0.6 percentage points of GDP growth.
    • Now we’re down to 0.5% “real” growth.
  • Businesses, over the last six months, have added inventory by more than $120 billion.
    • foretells lower business spending in the nearby future as that expanded inventory needs to be sold off.

As backdrop for all that, our GDP grew on the year by $600 billion, but Federal debt climbed by $1.3 trillion—more than twice GDP growth—in the same period.

Now, about President Obama’s enormous tax increase scheduled to take effect next January.  A worker’s Social Security tax bill will go up by nearly 50% as the payroll tax holiday expires, and his income tax bill will go up drastically: a lower income worker will see his first marginal tax go from 10% to 15% as Obama simply erases that 10% bracket, while a high-income worker will see his top marginal rate run up from 35% to 39.6%.

And this doesn’t include Obama’s tax increases on capital gains and dividends—levied on those rich investors like retired grandma for whom dividend income plays such a major role, and on those middle class investors—the ones whose 401(k)s or whose company-provided pensions invest for dividend and cap gain income.

Imagine the impact on GDP—and on the practical economy in which we must live—of these tax explosions.

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