Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Limbaugh Manipulative Machine: #6

It’s not a lie because it’s a judgment call. But it is oh, so deceptive.

On June 25, Rush Limbaugh told his listeners

"The economy didn’t grow as much as the Obama administration first claimed in the initial quarter of 2010, the Commerce Department reported today. The Q1 GDP was first announced at an annualized growth rate of 3.2%, revised downward now to 2.7%." Can we all declare that Obama's grand stimulus bill has been a spectacular failure? Yes, we can. And if you can't, you should join us, because it has been.

Okay, with these revised GDP numbers in, again, I think we can all declare Obama's grand stimulus bill a spectacular failure. We certainly have not had a winter of recovery. We did not have a spring of recovery. Given what we've seen in the housing market, unemployment numbers, why would anybody believe there's going to be a summer of recovery as Vice President Bite Me and President Obama are suggesting. The president and his accomplices in the Democrat Party took $1 trillion, folks, $1 trillion from taxpayers, they threw it down a slush fund rat hole called economic stimulus. They said it would stimulate job and economic growth. Two possible ways to look at that. Either they were wrong or they lied to us. Whichever answer, it's unacceptable.

Limbaugh’s information may have come from the report that

US first-quarter economic growth was revised downward to 2.7 percent, official data showed Friday, on the eve of a G20 summit set to focus on protecting the fragile global economic recovery. The US Commerce Department said revisions to consumer spending and imports forced a downward adjustment of growth in the January-March period, which was initially calculated at 3.2 percent before being revised to 3.0 percent in May. The third and final reading was weaker than the average analyst forecast of 3.0 percent, and well below the 5.6 percent pace for the final quarter of 2009, the strongest in six years.

But it marked the third consecutive quarter of growth for the US economy, after it emerged from the country's worst recession in decades, and contained some positive signs, analysts said.

In a statement, the Commerce Department said that the final figure reflected "an upward revision to imports and a downward revision to personal consumption expenditures that were partly offset by upward revisions to exports and to private inventory investment."

A downward revision of consumer spending from 3.5 percent to 3.0 percent led the cutback in the overall figure for the quarter.

The growth rate for the first quarter was revised downward and consumer spending was bad news but “was still the highest personal expenditure level since the first quarter of 2007.” And it’s an incredible- literally- leap from anything in this report to a conclusion that the stimulus program “was a slush fund rat hole” and “a spectacular failure” which proved “either they were wrong or they lied to us.”

It’s inconvenient for facts to get in the way of sparkling rhetoric and right-wing bias, but a month ago that emblem of the liberal media, Fox Business News, noted

The $800 billion stimulus package has had a slightly bigger impact on the U.S. economy than was projected when it was passed more than a year ago, the Congressional Budget Office estimated Tuesday. Through the first quarter of 2010, the stimulus boosted employment by an estimated 1.3 million to 2.8 million jobs, about a quarter or half million more than projected. Gross domestic product was 1.7 to 4.1 percentage points higher than it would have been without the stimulus, the nonpartisan budget office said.

That would make Rush’s description of the stimulus “a spectacular failure” clearly deceptive- unless, of course, Limbaugh believes that creating 2.8 million jobs constitutes a disaster. Which may be the case.

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