The Next President Must Avoid the Jimmy Carter Malaise

U.S. productivity is ugly

Jimmy Carter during his presidential campaign on Nov. 3, 1976.

Photograph: Central Press/Getty Images

“With mediocre growth, the unemployment rate plunged roughly 3.5 percentage points. This implies that productivity growth has been negative for the last five years.  We have a serious productivity problem in this country. If the Fed thinks they have the scope to deal with this, they are kidding themselves. The good news is that R&D spending is exploding. But, if we don’t see productivity rise in the next year, the 10-year [U.S. Treasury] around 2.50 percent looks about right and that is to put it mildly, not good.” —Neil Dutta, Renaissance Macro Research

“The threat is nearly invisible in ordinary ways. It is a crisis of confidence. It is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will. We can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our nation.” —Jimmy Carter, the Malaise Speech, July 15, 1979

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