Friday, July 30, 2010

There they go again

I enjoy David Brooks. From everything I can tell, he is smart and has a good heart. I would guess he is a terrific dinner companion. So I was disappointed when I read in his column this morning:

What we have is not just a cycle but a condition. We could look back on the period between 1980 and 2006 as the long boom ...

Sorry, David, but 1980 to 2006 was not a long boom. Consult the National Income and Product Accounts tables, and you will find that real GDP over that time grew about 3.1 percent per year. In the "awful" Nixon-Ford-Carter 1970s, growth was 3.2 percent per year; in the 60s 4.2 percent; in the 50s 3.5 percent, and in the 40s 5.6 percent.

It is not that 1980-2006 was bad, just hardly a boom relative to the previous 40 years.