First-quarter economic growth: 2.2% annualized rate
At least, that's the first estimate from the government. It's subject to change. It's an acceptable number, but nothing exciting. It's much better than the 0.2% contraction in the UK, but much slower than the 8.1% growth rate in China. Now, there's no way for the US to grow at the same rate as China -- the gigantic US economy simply can't grow as quickly as a smaller economy, just like a car going 100 mph can't speed up (in percentage terms) as quickly as a car going 25. As Warren Buffett put it, "A fat wallet, however, is the enemy of superior investment results." Of course, he wrote that in 1995, when his company had $11.9 billion in shareholder equity. Today, it's worth $168 billion. What's been true for Berkshire Hathaway can be quite easily true for America: The rate of growth may not be astonishing, but it can be good and can still compound over time to produce really amazing long-term results. The key to take away from investing that applies to the broader American economy is this: Keep growing, try to raise that rate of growth, and don't suffer losses. Losses are a perverse thing, in both finance and macroeconomics: When something (a stock price or a GDP figure) falls by half, it has to double in order to recover. Put another way: The first rule in making money is to not lose money.
Tech tip: Could China launch a cyberwar against us?