Just How Big Is The U.S. Economy- Wih Mark Perry: Mark Perry from American Enterprise Institute joins us today to discuss the data he collects on the size of the U.S. economy. Tune in for more information!
Air Date: 02/17/2020
Guest: Mark Perry
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: Â As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. It’s WallBuilders Live where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy and faith and other areas of the culture. We always do that from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. My name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas legislator and America’s constitution coach. I’m here with David Barton. He’s America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders. Tim Barton is a national speaker and pastor and the president of WallBuilders.
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Alright, guys, Mark Perry is going to be with us from American Enterprise Institute here in a few minutes. But he’s going to be talking about the data that he does every year on the size of the US economy. I think this is great for us because, you know, we’ve been saying these things for years and we are, you know, big time proponents of the concept of American exceptionalism that we are the exception to the rule. And sometimes people claim we’re being Pollyanna that we’re just waving the flag, we’re just, you know, American braggers, right? We’re just bragging about who we are. And I know as Texans, we do tend to brag a lot. But I mean, as Americans, that American exceptionalism does exist.
Today, we’re going to learn. I mean, this is some of the statistics, some of the data that backs up what we’ve all been saying in presentations around the country. Here’s an economist from American Enterprise Institute showing some of these things.
Well, the thing I think, that’s hard for people to grasp is, okay, America is got the biggest economy in the world. We have a huge GDP. We’re 4% of the population 24%, 25%, 26% of the GDP, so what? I’ve got an 8:00 to 5:00 job and I’m working my tail off, put the kids through college and do what I need. We don’t understand the trickle down effect of that big economy on every one of us.
I mean, you take something just as economic prosperity, why is it that with those that live in poverty in America, if they live in poverty in America and we’re not condoning that, we’re not saying that’s a good deal. But I’ll point out that if you live in poverty in America, you have more square footage of living space in the average middle class in Europe. Now, why is it that in the rest of the world, the greatest medical malady with poverty is stunned in this malnutrition, thinness? In America, the greatest problem the poor have in America is obesity.
I mean, there is a real consequence that goes to every single person from living in this nation. And even though you might be among the poor by comparing everyone else in the nation, when you compare America to the rest of the world, there is a huge statistical difference. And that GDP and maybe none of us can even recognize what a trillion means or how many trillion the American economy is worth, nonetheless, that has a trickle down effect on every single one of us in creating a lifestyle of prosperity that we just most people in the world can’t grasp. You’re right, Rick. It is a statistical measurement of American exceptionalism.
And guys, one of the things that we often will point out I think it’s worth noting again, especially during the summer and we work with all the young people. One thing I tell young people, is if you want to really get a perspective of America, you need to get with your church and go on a mission”s trip to third world nation. Go spend some time around the rest of the world because we really don’t have a great perspective of how blessed we are as Americans, because we don’t realize the lack that other nations have.
And again, I mean, going on a mission trip to third world nation, when you start seeing how some of these nations live, you go, oh my goodness, the things that we take for granted, right, how as Americans, we’ve been so spoiled in areas, how we really our focus has been so distracted. Some of these economic things that seem beyond us in the sense of what the average American understands, what they comprehend, the GDP, the growth, right, the wages, the salary, the increase of things that all we really recognize is what’s in our pocket. But our standard of living has become so exorbitant, so to speak, that we often in America, we live off of our wants and not our needs and we confuse our wants and our needs.
But when you look at the rest of the world, you realize, wow, we are so extremely blessed to be Americans. But even saying that, most Americans have no idea how blessed they are. And this is something that it’s so interesting seeing some of these studies to recognize how productive our nation is that helps us enjoy some of these blessings. We really are an incredibly productive nation when it comes to what we are able to do on an economic perspective.
Yeah, Professor Mark Perry actually kind of helped break this down, maybe where we can get our head around a little bit. He says, well, if you happen to live in the state of Alabama, your economy is actually bigger and better than and he’ll give you a nation in the world. You go, oh my gosh, you in Alabama, one of those poor southern states. They’re actually better off than an entire nation of whatever.
And so he set on a map to show, every State he compares it to a nation and to show how that every State out-producing and he show the nation they out-producing. It’s just astounding to see the comparisons of a single state to a nation or a chain of nations and you going, oh my gosh, I had no idea, my state was like this. It’ll be a fascinating interview. We saw the map online and we just got involved with it. Looking at the comparisons he made, they were great.Â
Stay with folks, Mark Perry, our special guest today. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
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Welcome back to WallBuilders Live, thanks for staying with us today. Mark Perry is with us. He’s a scholar over at American Enterprise Institute and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan. But you can read him on his Carpe Diem blog about economics, he actually makes it interesting. And my son who’s economics grad and master and all that stuff loves you. And he was smart enough to get an A in him. I wasn’t, so I had to go to University of Texas. But anyway, Mark, thank you for coming on, brother. Appreciate your time.Â
Yeah, glad to be on your show.
Hey, man, thanks for what you do. And we were very curious about this comparison of individual states in the United States and their GDP being even larger, just one step than, you know, the United Kingdom, for instance or even Canada. We forget how big we are in the world economy.
Well, that’s right, Rick. And so I do this every year when the new data come out. So I’ve been doing it for 5 or 6 or 7 years just to help people understand how big the US economy is. Because now, last year in 2019, the United States produced about 21.5 trillion dollars of economic output. And you know, once you get up into the trillions of dollars, it’s just so large, numbers are so large and it’s hard to even for people to understand how big those numbers are.
So, instead of looking at 21.5 trillion dollars, I think it’s easier people to understand how big the US economy is and is looking at this map that I create every year that shows US States that are matched for countries around the world that have GDP that is close to the output of our US States as a way to help understand how enormous US economy is, what an economic powerhouse it is and make people understand how big it is and maybe make people kind of appreciate how big the US economy is. To be alive in the United States in such a huge economy, I mean, it’s basically, you’ve already won the lottery of life just by being in the United States. And this helps, kind of demonstrate how big the US economy is and how fortunate we are to be living in such a huge, large market economy.
Yeah, you’re so right. And especially at a time when, you know, most of our campuses across the country are, you know, running down America and talking about how bad we are. This is such an important thing to point out. And hey, look, these principles that our nation was built upon and that we hold dear have produced incredible prosperity, incredible wealth. And as you said, just to be born here puts you way ahead of everyone else around the world.
Put it in practical terms for us. Like you know, take what you teach there in Michigan. What’s a country that the mission economy is comparable to?
Well, the state of Michigan in 2018 was equivalent to the entire economic output of Thailand. And, you know, some of our bigger states like, you know, California is equivalent to the entire economy of the United Kingdom and as a separate economy would be the 5th largest economy in the world. And then our [inaudible 11:17], you’re at, right?
Yeah, Texas. Absolutely.
Okay. So Texas would be equivalent to the entire economic output of all of Canada and would be the 10th largest economy in the world. And then the 3rd“¦
Okay, wait, Mark, you got a pause on that one, man. I got a lot of friends up in Canada and some of them listen to this program. So I really want to rub this in for a moment. Just Texas by itself, it’s the same as the entire country of Canada?
It’s the same output as Canada. Well, let’s see, how does it match up? Well, actually, Texas did produce a slightly more economic output in 2018 than Canada did. They’re up to both below about $2 trillion. But then I think when I adjusted for the size of the labor force, you know, Canada has 20 million workers and this puts almost 50% larger than the labor force in Texas, which is about 14 million. So we produce the same amount of output, but Canada has about 6 million more workers in their economy than we do. So again, it’s just another way to show and demonstrate how productive US workers are. So it’s not just the size of the US economy, but also in terms of output per person. You know, where”¦
So you say that so much nicer than I would, Mark. See, I like to rub it in. So I would say, we’re just harder working, man, we just, you know, we put our elbows in and put that grease in a lot harder. I mean, that really is, you know, used to be something we took pride in, right, that Americans worked hard, that we had that strong work ethic, but we don’t even”¦ that’s not even much of the conversation anymore. But that is such an important piece of this kind of output, right?
Well, yeah, we have a world class economy. We have world class workforce, and we’re, you know, in terms of per person, we’re among the highest in the world. And so it’s just a way for people really should take a little more pride in the US economy. And as you mentioned, you know, the US economy in its history is integrated great schools and high schools and colleges. And I just try to point out all of the ways that the US economy is, you know, so large and also so productive and also generates the highest standard of living for middle class people compared to any other country in the world.
So it’s just again, being alive in America today, you’ve won the lottery of life. But all we hear about are all of the problems and criticisms and so on. So I try to, you know, help people understand the positive and optimistic way to look at the US economy.
Yeah, and you mentioned it, the standard of living. I mean, that’s a way to really bring it home in terms of practical terms. You know, if you’re born here, if you live in America, I mean even if you’re in the lower tiers of actual income, I mean, the poorest people in our nation typically have a better standard of living than most people around the world and we’re talking about, you know, eat more red meat, having air conditioner, have, you know, automobiles, I mean all of those things that are tangible, hey, this is quality of life that as measured by most people, even the poorest in our country tend to do better than most people around the world.
Oh, that’s right. I mean, we’re living like in this technological world of, you know, advanced miracles and yeah, we’re just complaining about a lot of things. And so, I think we should really be a little more grateful, because I’ve also done a comparison. And if you take, like, let’s say, the European countries and put them in a ranking with US States based on GDP per capita or GDP that a lot of the, I guess it would be adjusted on a per capita basis. But a lot of the European countries would be among the poorest US states.
So even though we think of Europe as being equivalent in terms of standard of living on a per capita income or per capita GDP basis, you know, a lot of the countries in Europe would be ranked along with, you know, Mississippi and Alabama, some of the US poorest State. So again, we don’t really ever appreciate how good we have it and how things are getting better all the time. And so I’m trying to kind of communicate that through my blog. And I do that with charts and graphs and tables and Venn diagrams to try to communicate the message. The positive economic message because I think people really should hear more of.
You read my mind, because I actually have your blog pulled up right now, looking at some of those graph and speaking of that Texas work ethic. You’ve got one on there showing Texas crude oil production grew more than 5 times in the last 10 years. That’s significant. And you also mention”¦ before I let you go, I got to ask you about this post you had on the Patrick Moore Prager U videos, we”re big Prager U fans around here at WallBuilders and I haven’t watched his. But you’re saying on there, they’re really good. So I want to give a little plug here. You even have links to three of those?
Yeah. Patrick Moore, I think is one of the most important voices today, kind of speaking out against the climate hysteria that we hear about from you know, the teenage climate puppet [inaudible 15:53] and other people who are saying there’s such a you know, we have 10 or 12 years to live. For a voice of reason, insanity and the whole area of environment and climate and climate change, I would recommend following Patrick Moore. He’s active on Twitter. He puts new material up almost every day. He’s a former cofounder of Greenpeace. So he has kind of legitimate credentials. He has a PhD and I think ecology or something. So he’s really an important voice, some balance to the climate hysteria, gloom and doom we hear about almost daily.
Carpe Diem is the name of the blog, we”ll have a link today at wallbuilderslive.com to make it easy for you to get there. Mark, thanks for doing for economics what I think we hear WallBuilders do for history and government where most people grow up, thinking those subjects are boring, you make it interesting and get people to learn this very important part of what makes our system work so well. Thanks for what you’re doing, man, let’s get you back again soon.Â
Stay with us, folks, we”ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
Hi, friends this is Tim Burton of WallBuilders. This is the time when most Americans don’t know much about American history or even heroes of the faith. And I know oftentimes we’re parents, we’re trying to find good content for our kids to read. And if you remember back to the Bible, the book of Hebrews, it has the faith Hall of Fame, where they outline the leaders of faith that had gone before them. Well, this is something that as Americans, we really want to go back and outline some of these heroes, not just of American history, but heroes of Christianity and our faith as well.
I want to let you know about some biographical sketches we have available on our website. One is called the Courageous Leaders collection. And this collection includes people like Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Francis Scott Key, George Washington Carver, Susanna Wesley, even the Wright brothers. And there’s a second collection called Heroes of History. And this collection you’ll read about people like Benjamin Franklin or Christopher Columbus, Daniel Boone, George Washington, Harriet Tubman, friends, the list goes on and on.
This is a great collection for your young person to have and read into providential view of American and Christian history. This is available at wallbuilders.com. That’s www.wallbuilders.com.
We’re back here on WallBuilders Live, thanks to Mark Perry for joining us today. We have a link to that map. It really is something to see the visual map and you can even click on your State and see what your State compares to in terms of another nation around the world. Back with David and Tim Barton. Guys, it was great data. And interesting, some of the comments he was making about even the videos on Prager U and just some of the pushback against this kind of left wing philosophy out there, even from guys that help start Greenpeace.
Well, it’s hard for Americans to feel really guilty about themselves if they understand where they are in comparison to everything else in the world. I mean, if you tried to make us the bad guy and the culprit that everything in the world has gone wrong is our fault, that’s really hard for us to believe if we find out we’re not as bad as we’ve been told, if we find out that you know what we really are producing more and creating more prosperity and creating more freedom.
And so I can understand the pushback from the left on this. And you know, he had a one liner, I just thought was priceless. He said you’ve lost won the lottery of life just by living in the United States. I go, man, I don’t think most people recognize or appreciate that. But when you look at this chart and show what he shows, he’s right.
I think it’s interesting too, looking at the chart how California would be the 5th. If they were their own nation, they would be the 5th largest economy in the world. Texas is second in the US, but in comparison to world economies, they would be the 10th largest economy in the world. I bet it’s interesting. Texas is not as large or doesn’t produce as much as California does. And yet California is going bankrupt and Texas is not. And so it makes you think it’s not only that you are producing something, right. This is where I see and go, man, leadership makes such a difference, because California has so much but they’re dwindling and they’re squandering, they’re not doing a great job with what they have.
Looking at the numbers, just looking at California, California has more productivity than the UK. The UK to $2.81 trillion, France did $2.79 trillion, India $2.61 trillion, California was bigger than all of those. So we’re talking nearly $3 trillion a year California does. How in the world with $3 trillion are you having the economic struggles you are in California? But this to me is why it’s even fascinating just looking at this map and seeing the level of productivity they have, that California, the 5th largest economy in the world, that’s crazy. Â But this is how blessed we are to be American.
And you point out, you know, they’re having troubles there and it’s because of their politics. And something he said struck me on the other side, that politics line making the same point from a different direction. Is that in Texas, our oil production has grown by five times. Now why would that be? Part of it is politics. I don’t remember the exact numbers. I’m going to throw some numbers, these are generally right. But under the Obama administration to get a permit for drilling took about 18 months and now it takes about six days to get a permit for drilling. So the bureaucracy and paperwork kept you from being productive because you couldn’t drill wells and you can.
And that that doesn’t mean that they’re still not doing the environmental impact studies. Right? Because that would be the argument. Well, it’s because President Trump doesn’t care about the environment, he’s destroying the environment. No, no. no. The environmental impact studies are still being done. It’s just you’re not having to wait a year and a half before you get the approval after the environmental impact studies. So it’s not cheating”¦
And by the way, our technology is so high now that we’re actually having cleaner production than we’ve had in history. We’re far ahead of all the other nations. So we’re having cleaner air with more production. So you’re right, Tim, we haven’t lowered the standards, it’s not that we don’t care about the economy. Those standards is still there. Man, the difference politics makes, even though we’re already so far ahead, I mean, politics does have a huge impact.
Hey, quick break, guys, we’ll be right back. We’re talking about Mark Perry’s interview with us today. And we’ll have a link today so you can read the article and see the map, see where your State stands in terms of the world economy. Stay with us, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
Hey friends, if you’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live for very long at all, you know how much we respect our veterans and how appreciative we are of the sacrifices they make to make our freedoms possible. One of the ways that we love to honor those veterans is to tell their stories. Here on WallBuilders Live, once in a while, we get an opportunity to interview veterans that have served on those front lines, that have made incredible sacrifices, have amazing stories that we want to share with the American people.
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We’re back here on WallBuilders Live, thanks for staying with us. Be sure to check out the website today wallbuilderslive.com. So you can look on the map and see where your State stands in the world economies. But a great reminder for us, David and Tim, just that the American economy has produced such incredible results and it does impact our actions and the decisions that we make based on how we see our principles. Do our principles actually work? Do the principles from the Declaration of Independence produce good results, according to Mark Perry? Absolutely, so
Well, they produce good results, but I’m also struck with the efficiency of how they produce those results. I mean, take Texas, I love the fact that Texas by itself produces more than all of Canada. But you know what a great comparison as if we needed something else to brag about. But we do it with, as Mark pointed out, nearly 50% less workers, we are produce them with a much smaller workforce. So our efficiency is so much higher. We take less with fewer people and make it go further than other nations do with more people.
Now, I’ll point out that the Canada has a real government problem, in my opinion, they don’t follow limited government principles. They are very heavy handed and oppressive in many ways. They are very socialist progressive, they’re moving more and more towards socialism. So it takes more to produce what they had. But here we are in Texas with 50% less workers than they have out producing the entire nation of Canada and we’re just one of 50 states in the US.
I mean, those numbers are just absolutely fascinating. The further you get into them, the more you appreciate the fact that having the right philosophy of governance, like a constitution records, you said the Declaration, choosing the right leaders to go with it, such as Texas leaders versus California leaders, all of that has an impact but even at that, even if you’re in California with Gavin Newsome and others, as your leaders, you’re still out producing the United Kingdom. It’s fascinating that we’ve been so blessed that even if we don’t have the best government, we still have outcomes and things that are producing blessings in our lives that we all ought to appreciate and be grateful for.
We’re out of time for today, folks. There are more programs available right now at wallbuilderslive.com, you can click in the archive section there. If you’re a podcast listener, download those podcasts throughout the week. We have great interviews like the one today with President Munsell from Arizona Christian university as well as with US Senators and Congressmen and attorneys that are arguing before the Supreme Court and individuals just like yourself that are making a difference in their communities.
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