There was understandable alarm when the U.S. Commerce Department said that growth of the U.S. economy in the April-June quarter was only 1.3 percent. So the alarm is even greater now that the Commerce Department has further downgraded that figure. The agency says actual growth in the spring quarter wasn't 1.3 percent, but only 1 percent instead. And worse still, for the entire first half of this year, our economy expanded by only 0.7 percent!
What makes that so troubling is that it suggests our country may be headed for another recession. Economic growth of 1 percent or less has preceded almost all of the 11 recessions our nation has endured since World War II, The Associated Press noted recently. So if we're at less than 1 percent growth now, a new recession could be knocking on our door.
And as continued high unemployment shows, what little expansion there has been in the economy just hasn't been enough to provide sufficient jobs to keep up with normal population growth. That means more people are falling further behind as they must rely on government aid or on help from friends and family.
President Barack Obama has made his unwise "prescription" for the economy clear: He wants much higher taxes and a lot more spending.
But that does not mean Congress has to go along with the president. In fact, it is urgently important that Republicans hold the line against big new federal spending -- especially considering the failure of the last "stimulus."
Our nation's economic problems are not being caused by insufficient spending or "too-low" taxes, but by over-regulation, excessive taxation and intrusive government policies that are hamstringing the free market's ability to create jobs and growth.
So long as those suffocating policies continue, we have little chance of seeing real, sustained economic expansion.