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Charting the Real State of the U.S. economy - Slide 2 of 23

THE BIG PICTURE: HUMMING ALONG?

Is the state of today's U.S. economy indeed pretty good, as the headlines tell us? Unfortunately, the headline data ignore all the stimulus that Washington has blown into the economy to buoy growth. The first chart shows the magnitude and effects of these measures since 1959. The vertical bars show annual inflation-adjusted growth rates through 2006. The various lines show some of the main government-produced forces influencing growth rates.

The bottom line: Record stimulus since 2001 rock-bottom interest rates, a record deterioration in the federal budget balance, and a record housing boom has not come close to producing record growth. Indeed, it's clear that America's engines of growth are sputtering, generating less growth bang for each economic buck of stimulus.



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