Fox News rewrote history to claim that sluggish economic growth began at the start of the Obama administration, completely ignoring that the recession began during George W. Bush's presidency in late 2007.
On the June 27 edition of America's Newsroom, co-host Bill Hemmer interviewed Fox Business host Stuart Varney to discuss the Labor Department's latest weekly jobless claims data that showed a decrease of 9,000 claims from the previous week. Varney, after citing a number of economic indicators, claimed that "we've got another year of slow growth ... and this will be for the fifth year in a row." Hemmer agreed with Varney that slow growth has been in effect "going back to 2009."
By choosing 2009 as the starting point for slow economic growth, the hosts completely obscured the fact that in the quarter prior to Obama's January 20, 2009, inauguration -- the fourth quarter of 2008 -- economic growth fell by 8.9 percent. Moreover, aside from a slight rise in growth in the second quarter of 2008, GDP growth was in apparent decline since 2007.
Absent from the exchange was any explanation as to why current growth is less than robust. Economists have long argued that declines in public sector spending have held the economy back, and while private sector jobs have seen consistent growth since the recession, public sector jobs have dwindled.
Indeed, government spending cuts have consistently lowered GDP growth in recent years. And the most recent estimate of first quarter growth -- revised down to 1.8 percent -- would have been close to one percentage point higher absent fiscal tightening.