Thursday, December 17, 2009

This Chart Deserves More Attention

Natasha, as you know came out with a calendar and if you have not ordered it, I recommend you do so (shoot me at e-mail at

Sadly we did not reach the 1 million sales mark, even though she is obviously deserving more along the lines of 10 millions in sales.

However, even more deserving than that is this chart right here, which I am now ordering you to forward to people because it is that important of a chart. Forward it to Glenn Beck, forward it to Rush Limbaugh, forward it to liberals who just plain don't get it, but forward it because it is very important.

What this chart shows you is America's economic production over time. It is the rolling 20 year average of RGDP growth and the reason it is a rolling 20 year average is because GDP growth is very volatile and no discernible trend can be seen with the naked eye. However, when you average it out over generations you see essentially a HALVING of our ability to produce.

The ramifications of this are so severe that I am literally stunned so little commentary was made about this and it got such little traffic, thus behooving my re-posting this chart with a little eye candy and basically a direct order you forward this.

1. The obvious fact our ability to enrich ourselves has been halved should be of immediate shock-and-ponder value. This chart alone should trigger people across all political spectrums to ask "Why is this happening" because if it keeps going you can expect the country to not just plateau, but decline. This means we will suffer a decline in our standards of living per capita over the long term.

2. This speaks volumes about the future of Obama-Ponies-and-Puppies-for-All government entitlement programs. Where, precisely, is the economic production going to come from to fund these government programs that are growing faster than the economy. There will come a point that ALL economic production will go to finance medicare and social security, not to mention the debt servicing of our national debt.

3. Pensions? 401k's? IRA's? I dated a rather rich girl one time. She got her job due to her grand-daddy and by no intellectual merit or skill on her own. She make insane amount of coin, kept getting promoted and had banked more money in her 401k plan than I could ever hope to dream. Well the jokes on you guys who have been banking on your pensions and 401k plans. Unless they're invested in gold or foreign countries or something where economic growth is actually occurring, you can expect your pensions to go unfunded when you need to retire. Who knows, by that time rolling RGDP growth will be 0% and you'll then really start to ask about the methods of discounted cash flow to value stocks.

4. Can we please lower the freaking taxes already? You want to spurn economic growth and all you can do is think about spending more government money? Where do you think the real production in this economy comes from? ACORN employees? Government funded art projects? Rebuilding roads that needed to repairing?

5. Can we also please knock it off with the worthless liberal arts degrees and start channelling our children into studies that actually produce stuff? What ever happened to that big push into the sciences back in the 1950's to keep up with the Ruskies? You want to have a nice nursing home? Well too bad, you let your kid major in "art history" on the grounds that "we don't interrupt, we're hands off parents, whatever our child thinks is gold" and now he can't even afford the rent on his coffee barrista income let alone the gas to come pay you a visit because he's taxed at a 60% rate on a dwindling $27,000 per year income.

Sorry, sorry. I have to keep telling myself, I don't control this. I can't get excited about this. There's nothing I can do when the masses are so ignorant. All I can do is play video games, drink heavily and listen to some Lawrence Welk.


DaFatalGigabyte said...

"Where do you think the real production in this economy comes from? ACORN employees? Government funded art projects? Rebuilding roads that needed to repairing?"

Needs a "no."

Hello Birdy said...


All this chart does is prove once again, that Socialism leads to economic ruin and collapse.

In the case of America it may well lead to civil war as it should.

I am Canadian. I live in the USA for ten years in the 60s and 70s. I always thought I made a mistake coming back to Canada, but not anymore.

You Americans are screwed and I think you will need someone like Sarah Palin in for two terms as president if you ever hope to get out of the mess you are in.

Obama is burying you as he planned.

VancouverGuy said...

1. A decline in real GDP growth is not a "halving of our ability to produce." It is a halving of our growth in production, which is very different. Yes, it is a nitpick, but I think it is a relevant one.

2. What would be more relevant is our GDP per Capita. And what would then be very relevant is our GDP per productive citizen. That would allow you to examine the growth in productive output without looking at changes in demographics and population at the same time.

3. Given the two points above, your statement that we have halved our ability to enrich ourselves is incorrect. Your point must be examined in the context of demographics as well as in the fact that you are examining growth in real GDP, not absolute real GDP, and not absolute GDP per capita.

4. I believe your base conclusion, which is that government programs that grow faster than the economy are ridiculous, is correct. Your additional normative prescriptions are also correct when it comes to degrees and taxes.

5. Your comment about unfunded pension plans and 401k plans is a mix of a few different things. While the DCF valuation of something with limited growth is of course lower than that of something with positive growth, most positive growth comes with required capital expenditure, offsetting to a certain extent the value actually created by the growth. The impact on stock valuations of reduced growth is not necessarily damning if you also reduce the capital expenditure associated with that growth. If you look at it from a simplistic perspective of just discounting dividends assuming that dividends grow at a certain amount every year based on GDP, then that could be correct, but your base dividends would be higher as well if you did not have to spend capital on growing the business, so it is more complex than one may at first assume.

Overall, I agree that both declining productivity growth (if that is what this actually represents) and increases in government expenditure at a rate faster than GDP growth are terrible occurrences in our society.

Robert of Ottawa said...

Listen up Cappy Cap, ol' chap. It's not just a US problem, although there are very specific US issues you address.

The plain fact is that we can spend 100% of GDP on healthcare and welfare and we would still get sick and die. Therefore, these things must be rationed, either through price or queue theorey (rationing).

So far, the US has resisted the socialist temptation of the politicians, but it looks like you are succumbing - I hope I am wrong and you will rise up against statist control of your lives.

Anonymous said...

Aw Cappie, you're using those hard Keynesian things again. You should try the "new math", like the HPI. (Happy Planet Index). That would definitely show an improvement over that hard, old, algebra thingie.