New economic reports indicate the U.S. economy actually shrank by 1 percent in the first three months of 2014, instead of growing by .1 percent as originally believed.
It marks the first time the U.S. economy has contracted in three years, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Those are bad numbers for President Obama and the Democrats – especially in an election year – which is why they’ll want to pay close attention to the new way officials in the United Kingdom are “growing” their economy.
According to CNN Money, “The British government is now including prostitution and narcotics sales in its official Gross Domestic Product (GDP) statistic. That’s the oft-cited measure of how much a country’s economy grows or contracts.”
Government officials estimate the shadowy activities add $16.7 billion a year to the overall economy, and say they’re including illegal drugs and prostitution in GDP figures because other European Union nations do, too.
Tabulating economic figures for illegal activities isn’t easy to do. The Telegraph reports that British statisticians determined prostitution’s contributions to GDP by “using a number of estimates, including the clients per prostitute per week based on Dutch practice, the average price per visit and the cost of room rental and clothing.”
“For drugs other than cannabis, estimates are based on figures such as sales, import price and value, purity from police seizures and street price,” the Telegraph adds.
These calculations are not without controversy. One Telegraph contributor complains the prostitution numbers overlook activities that pertain to “men who pay for sex with other men,” thus erasing gay sex workers from the story “yet again.”
Civil rights concerns aside, it’s possible that the socialists currently running America’s government will find much to like about the U.K.’s new method for measuring its overall economic health. Adding sex and drugs to the mix would help mask the effects of the Democrats’ job-killing economic policies.
If economists could figure out a way to add texting, video game playing and TV watching to GDP numbers, President Obama might even avoid going down in history as the worst president ever.