Here’s what I don’t get about the Left’s furious efforts to spin away the fourth-quarter GDP numbers: the new talking point is that we only had an economic contraction because government spending is down, so it’s all the fault of those miserly Republicans and their dratted “austerity.”
Leaving aside that much of this reduced spending is coming from the defense sector that Democrats want to cut, rather than the social programs they’re hot to increase, you’re left with about 1.25 percent private-sector growth after government spending is factored out. That’s pitiful, not something to celebrate. And if the government spending number were better – say, a 0.1 percent private sector contraction pumped up to 1.25 percent overall GDP growth by big government spending – we all know the Democrats would scream like banshees at the thought of excluding the government’s slice of the GDP pie. They would portray anyone who even suggested it as a mindless partisan hack.
But let’s play their game and ignore the government “austerity” that pulled overall GDP into a minor contraction last quarter. Shall we then go all the way back to 2009 and separate government spending from GDP? What do you supposed that would look like? Pretty much a flat line of borderline recessionary stasis, all the way back to the Obama “stimulus” plan, right? I think the very last thing any Obama apologist would want is long, hard look at private-sector growth under his stewardship, because it would show that his madcap spending has tended to replace such growth, rather than stimulating it.