Louis Woodhill at Real Clear Markets

On Friday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported that 2015 U.S. real GDP (RGDP) growth was 2.38%. No matter what revisions are subsequently made, 2015 will have been the tenth year in a row that RGDP growth came in at under 3.0%. The longest previous such run in U.S. economic history was only four years, and the last time that this happened was during the Great Depression (1930 – 1933).

Even worse, and this should be the defining issue of the 2016 elections, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is now forecasting that America will never see 3.0% economic growth again. This should be drawing howls of protest, at least from Republicans, but there has been little reaction thus far.

From 1790 to 2000, U.S. RGDP growth averaged 3.79%. America needs at least 3.0% economic growth-the nation cannot defend itself and pay its bills without it. However, America’s elites have largely given up on growth, and are now distracting themselves with academic musings about “secular stagnation.”

Hillary Clinton is trying to position herself as the logical heir to President Obama’s “legacy.” Hillary is asking the voters to give her the job of protecting and continue Obama’s “achievements.” In a way, what Hillary is trying to do is odd, but in another way, it isn’t. Here’s why.

The rate of real economic growth is the single greatest determinate of both America’s strength as a nation and the wellbeing of the American people. And, Obama’s record in this area has been truly dismal.

Right now, the nation is probably already in a recession. The BEA’s first estimate of 4Q2015 RGDP growth was only 0.69%, and there is mounting evidence that this will later be revised downward. However, making the wildly optimistic assumption that 2016 RGDP growth will come in at the CBO’s current forecast (2.67%), Obama will be the only U.S. president in history that did not deliver a single year of 3.0%+ economic growth.