By Isaac Cohen*
In the last quarter of last year, according to the Department of Commerce, the US economy grew at an annual rate of 1.9 percent, less than 3.5 percent in the third quarter, but more than the 1.1 percent of the first half of 2016. Therefore, during last year as a whole the rate of growth was 1.6 percent, the slowest since 2011 and less than 2.6 percent in 2015. Last year was the 11th year in a row that the US economy has grown at a rate of less than 3 percent, the longest stretch since the growth figure has been reported.
In all, during the 8 years of President Barack Obama the average annual growth rate was 1.8 percent, which means that the recovery from the Great Recession was the second longest in history, but among the slowest. It also means that to accomplish the rate of growth of between 3 and 4 percent promised by President Donald Trump requires an economic stimulus package which includes tax cuts, infrastructure spending and less regulation.
Thus far, the measures by the new government have been adopted through executive orders and some of these have been highly controversial. Even so, none of the adopted measures has dealt with what is necessary to accomplish the promise of faster and higher economic growth, because the checkbook belongs to the US Congress.
*International analyst and consultant. Commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio, UNIVISION, TELEMUNDO and other media. Former Director, UNECLAC Washington.