October 23, 2003

Empirical Evidence that Republicans Can't Count?

One Cesar Conda--"former domestic and economic policy advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney and a board director of Empower America--writing in National Review provides powerful evidence that Republicans cannot count:

The Bush Recovery on NRO Financial: Productivity growth has remained strong, even during the recession. In the second and third quarters of this year, productivity grew at a phenomenal 7 percent rate. The reason: Businesses have been squeezing output from current workers to meet the growing demand for goods and services. But as firms add new workers, this cyclical burst in productivity growth should recede to 1 to 2 percent in the coming months as new employees are rarely productive -- it takes time to learn a new job.

With real GDP growing at 4 percent or more and productivity growing at 1 to 2 percent for a good portion of next year, U.S. companies will have to add between 120,000 and 180,000 jobs a month to meet the additional 2 to 3 percent in demand and output.

Leave to one side any criticisms of the--bizarre, wingnut--forecast that American productivity growth is about to slow to a 1% to 2% annual growth rate. If real GDP grows at 4% over the next year, and if productivity grows at 1% to 2% a year, then employment has to grow at 2% to 3%. There are 140 million people at work in America. 2% of 140 million is 2.8 million--or 233,000 a month. 3% of 140 million is 4.2 million--or 350,000 a month.

So where does Canto's 120,000 to 180,000 a month number come from? Can't he subtract? Can't he multiply 140 million by a percentage? Can't he divide?

And can't National Review find some spoiled rich-kid teenage intern to check NRO Financial articles for arithmetic errors? Isn't teaching people to do math supposed to be one of Empower America's big projects?

Posted by DeLong at October 23, 2003 02:32 PM | TrackBack

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