When Ron Paul was running for president back in the 2012 cycle, he said that "free market" policies "will give you 10 percent or 15 percent growth or whatever." Which is, of course, absolutely ridiculous. Annual U.S. growth, adjusted for inflation, has averaged just over 3 percent since the 1950s. Only very poor nations have been able to grow their economies at rates of 10 or 15 percent for a sustained period of time, such as Asia after it opened itself to Western trade and foreign investment. Not even Paul's idealized America — pre-Federal Reserve, pre-welfare state, pre-income tax — expanded at such a warp-speed rate.