Escape Velocity

Certainly we have all been told the cheetah is the fastest animal around.  To some extent that’s true, so long as you limit it to mammals.  An aptly named swift called the White-throated Needletail can buzz right by a cheetah.  A Peregrine Falcon can go three times faster when it’s in a dive but that doesn’t seem exactly fair.  I’m guessing you could drop a rock climber off the top of El Capitan and accomplish much the same thing, but that’s not the point.  No matter how fast any critter can go, they still can’t make it to the International Space Station.  To get there you need to reach what’s called escape velocity or roughly seven mile per second.

In some of our blogs we have commented on the recent slow pace of America’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  While it may be a week or so before we get the final numbers for the last quarter of 2012, things don’t look very robust with growth likely to register either positive or negative by a few tenths of one percent around zero.  The gravitational pull on our economy currently comes primarily from inflation and population growth.  To overcome these influences and achieve lift off, we must do much better.  Many economists set our escape velocity at three percent GDP growth.

Can America blast off again?  Some of our most newest data points have been quite encouraging.  In recent blogs we have pointed to data from various sources showing a strong improvement in employment and a few measures of income.  Retail sales have jumped.  Businesses are adding to inventories in what may be a sign of growing confidence.  Building permits seem to be on the rise.  Manufacturing is showing renewed vigor.  If these trends continue and other factors also can confirm the increase in economic momentum, we will be reaching for the stars once again.