The purpose of this essay is to examine the relative economic performance of Missouri with two comparisons. Our first benchmark is the overall U.S. economy, where we find that output and job growth in our state has consistently lagged behind that of the nation as a whole. For example, if Missouri economic performance had simply paced that of the nation since 1997, state output would be $285 billion higher than it is today. We draw out the consequences of this stagnation in terms of lost tax revenues, jobs, and charitable contributions. A second benchmark is our neighbors: Missouri’s economic performance was dead last or second to last when compared to our neighboring states. In short, Missouri’s relative performance over the last decade and a half has been dreadful.
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