Yglesias

Fuzzy Math: Blasting Obama, Pawlenty Falsely Claims A Decade Of 5% Growth Has Been ‘Done Before’

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Tim Pawlenty’s economic plan calls for a 5 percent growth rate sustained over a ten year period, something he claims has been “done before.”

America’s economy is not even growing at 2 percent — and that’s what many projections say we can expect for the next decade. That’s not acceptable.

Let’s start with a big, positive goal. Let’s grow the economy by 5 percent, instead of an anemic 2 percent.

It’s been done before: Between 1983 and 1987, the Reagan recovery grew at 4.9 percent annually. Between 1996 and 1999, under President Bill Clinton and a Republican Congress, the economy grew at around 4.7 percent annually.

The mathematically astute among you may note that neither of these time periods featured five percent growth, nor did either of them last ten years. That’s because growth of the sort Pawlenty is promising hasn’t ever been done before:

The former governor’s observation that current projections are unacceptably low are correct. But counterposing that with unrealistic promises and bogus history doesn’t help anyone.