President Obama didn’t comment on Friday’s report of declining growth in the second quarter, and that’s no surprise. The economic story of his Presidency is by now familiar: a plodding recovery that has taken its third dip in three years and is barely raising incomes for most Americans.
“We’re still in a position where we are pulling ourselves out of the very deep hole caused by the Great Recession, and there is still—of course—a great deal of anxiety in the country about the economy,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney. He’s right about the anxiety, but if only we were “pulling ourselves out.”
The reality is that the Great Recession ended three long years ago. In this Less Than Great Recovery, the economy shows promise for one good quarter then slows back down. As the nearby chart shows, this is the third straight year of sputtering recovery. Growth of 4.1% in the fourth quarter declined to 2% in the first and now 1.5% in the second. The stock market rose as investors bet that the lousy growth will inspire more Federal Reserve easing.