Why Did GDP Just Flatline Again?

A release by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) on Wednesday noted:

Economy Off to a Sputtering Start in 2015

“Working families continue to suffer in the slow-growth Obama economy,” says House economic leader.

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady of Texas, the top House Republican on the Joint Economic Committee issued the following statement on the today’s release by Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) that real GDP grew at an annual rate of 0.2 percent during the 1st-quarter of 2015.

“This is a disappointing report. Working families continue to suffer in this slow-growth Obama economy, and now the President’s ‘growth gap’ is growing larger.  Our economy is now missing $1.7 trillion and 5.5 million more Americans would be back to work if the Obama recovery merely met the definition of average.”

“The substandard growth of the Obama recovery is a key factor in the disappointing job and paycheck growth.”

What’s wrong with our economy? According to author John Tamny in his recent book Popular Economics, there are four big factors in job creation and equitable prosperity: taxes, regulation, trade and money.  Neither taxes, regulations, nor trade explain the long downturn that began in 2001 and continues today.

Monetary policy is the big overlooked factor.  As I wrote in a review of Tamny’s excellent book published at RealClearMarkets.com:

Tamny especially impresses with the clarity around the matter of money, to which he devotes five full chapters. For example:

In The Wealth of Nations-the masterpiece that laid the groundwork for the rise of modern capitalism-Adam Smith observed that “the sole use of money is to circulate consumable goods.” That was a throwaway line, for no serious thinker had ever considered money as anything but a measure. Money came into existence because men needed a way to measure the value both of their production and of the consumable goods they sought in exchange for the fruits of their labor. Smith was stating the obvious.

Rep. Brady was the prime sponsor, in the 113th Congress, of legislation setting up a national bipartisan Monetary Commission to address this question fairly and thoroughly.  We expect this legislation to be reintroduced in the 114th Congress.

And it would be a fine thing if presidential candidates such as Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio, among others, were to be turning their attention to what monetary (and Federal Reserve) policy could and should be doing to end the suffering of working families by restoring job creation and paycheck growth.

Ralph Benko, internationally published weekly columnist, co-author of The 21st Century Gold Standard, lead co-editor of the Gerald Malsbary translation from Latin to English of Copernicus’s Essay on Money, is American Principles in Action’s Senior Advisor, Economics.