While most of us have fixated, quite justifiably, on various Obamacare fiascos, the U.S. economy has been taking off. James Pethokoukis has the details.
He notes that the economy grew by a revised 4.1 percent annual pace in the third quarter. Economists expect growth during 2014 at a rate of 3.0 to 3.5 percent. Pethokoukis thinks there’s a good chance that 2014 will be the best for the American economy since 2005, before the housing market began to sink.
I consider this good news. Even in my radical days, I never subscribed to the view that “the worse things are the better.” Economic misery has no appeal for me, even if inflicted on an electorate that arguably deserves it.
An improving economy might well help President Obama’s standing and could improve the 2014 electoral prospects of the Democrats. However, we shouldn’t assume that it will bail the Dems out.
In 1994, the economy boomed to a greater degree than it is likely to next year. As this report reminds us:
The U. S. economy in 1994 went gangbusters. Real gross domestic product (GDP), the value of all final goods and services produced in the U. S. adjusted for inflation, grew at an annual rate of 4.1 percent, which represents the highest growth rate of real GDP since 1984. Real GDP grew at an annual rate of 3.3 percent in the first quarter, increased to 4.1 percent and 4.0 percent in the second and third quarters, and jumped to a whopping 5.1 percent in the fourth quarter.
Come election time, though, Republicans swept to a victory of historic proportions. Voters felt that President Clinton had betrayed their trust by failing to govern as the sensible centrist he had portrayed himself as. His attempts at radical health care reform were a major driver of this perception.
Democratic congressional candidates were punished accordingly in 1994. The booming economy did not protect them.
If Obamacare continues on its present trajectory or anything like it, an economic boom is unlikely to turn the 2014 electoral tide in the Democrats’ favor. But it could make a difference at the margin, and with Republicans needing to gain six Senate seats, the margin will matter.