What Really Bothers Me About The So-Called U.S. Economic Growth

retail etfMoe Zulfiqar: On the surface, the data suggest there’s economic growth in the U.S. economy. We hear that the unemployment rate is declining. Incomes in the U.S. economy are increasing. Consumers are buying more and more goods—as a result, we are going to see higher U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). Growth is intact…right?

Sadly, when I examine the details, I really question if this is all a mirage. Is there really economic growth in the U.S. economy?

You see, economic growth is when the general standard of living improves. It’s just that simple. If people are getting jobs that pay them well, you have economic growth. If average Joe American is able to buy the goods he wants, you have economic growth.

There are troubling developments in the U.S. economy that can derail all the talks of economic growth. Unfortunately, they are not very often mentioned in the mainstream media.

First of all, I see a disparity happening between the rich and those who are not so fortunate in the U.S. economy. This is something to be mindful of, because it can have massive side effects. An example of this I witnessed was in the 2013 auto sales for the U.S. economy. The sales of automakers that make affordable and family-oriented cars like General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) and Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) witnessed subdued growth. On the other hand, luxury car makers saw massive increases. For example, sales of the “Maserati” increased by 74.7%. On the other end of the spectrum, sales of cars and light vehicles at General Motors only increased by 7.3%. (Source: Motor Intelligence, “U.S. Market Light Vehicle Deliveries – December 2013,” motorintelligence.com, January 3, 2014.)

Then, I’ve seen that an unbelievable number of Americans are still using food stamps. Over the years, this number has increased—something which shouldn’t be the case during a period of economic growth. As of September 2013, there were 47.3 million Americans using food stamps. (Source: United States Department of Agriculture, “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program,” December 6, 2013.) This represents more than 15% of the U.S. population! Think of it this way: 15% of the U.S. population needs assistance in order to fill their most basic need—food.

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