The Bureau of Economic Analysis announced on Friday that the U.S. economy grew at a 2.8% annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2010, which was significantly slower than the previously estimated 3.2%. For all of 2010, the U.S. economy expanded 2.8%, after contracting 2.6% in 2009. The average annual growth in GDP from 1998 through 2008 was just 2.17%.
However, it appears President Obama didn't garner his rosy GDP estimates from historical data when estimating GDP growth rates in his 10 year budgetary projections. The White House wants you to believe that average annual GDP growth rates throughout the next decade will reach 3.22%. Our government would also have you believe that the 10 year note will average just 4.91% and that Consumer Price Inflation will average a mere 2.04%. But, the average CPI was a much loftier 4.9% during the years 1981-2010 and the average yield on the 10 year over the past 40 years has been 7.3%.
But how convenient it is for the President to produce those upbeat assumptions. Doing so makes the deficit and cumulative debt seem more palatable. Using similar unrealistic guesstimations, the Congressional Budget Office says that our publicly traded debt will increase by $12 trillion during the coming decade. I say more palatable, but it is sort of like the relief you may feel when learning that you will be forced to only eat 200 spiders instead of the previously estimated 300. Just to give you an idea how off these budget guesses can be; read this from the Weekly Standard: President Obama's first budget (for 2010), entitled A New Era of Responsibility: Renewing America's Promise, projected that 2012 deficit spending would be $581 billion. His second budget, for 2011, projected that 2012 deficit spending would be $828 billion. Now, his actual 2012 budget projects that 2012 deficit spending will be $1.101 trillion. That's an increase of more than a half a trillion dollars in 730 days.
Oops! And now the administration is projecting a record $1.6 trillion deficit for fiscal 2011. This morning's second estimate for GDP bodes ill for the White House being correct this year as well. More importantly, the rosy estimates for the next decade virtually guarantee that the already daunting debt prognostication will end up being much much worse. How do those spiders taste?