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Good news, folks! On Thursday morning, Fox News assembled a panel of expert pundits to explain why the nation's GDP shrunk by 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, and boy oh boy did they ever deliver some insightful analysis. For example, Charles Payne of their business channel revealed this stunning conclusion: "The economy has been slowed in part because there has been a war on success and constant threatening and demonization of business."

Well that's a bold explanation. The only problem with it is that despite declining in the fourth quarter, GDP grew faster over the course of the full year of 2012 than it did in 2011. And that means that if President Obama is waging a war on success, he's doing a pretty shitty job of it, because on a full-year basis, growth accelerated.

Fortunately, Fox is a Fair & Balanced network, so Payne's attempt to pin all the blame on President Obama didn't go unchallenged. Instead, former Clinton pollster Doug Schoen said both sides were to blame. Why? Because, he said, "we haven't done full-scale tax reform, entitlement reform, spending cuts, we haven't looked intelligently at defense, we haven't dealt with the issues of the debt and the deficit."

Uh, sorry Doug, but that's feel-good puffery with no basis in reality. GDP dropped during the fourth quarter because government spending dropped. It had nothing to do with the failure to achieve a grand bargain or make even bigger cuts. It had everything to do with a 22% decline in defense spending.

Towards the end of the segment, Payne took another shot at explaining the economic slow down. "Today we got numbers out on income and spending," he said, noting that income skyrocketed. "What scared me about the report, though, was spending was really below estimates. Again, it feels like maybe the American people are beginning to hunker down."

Actually, spending growth was in line with estimates—and it grew, just as it did in the fourth quarter. In fact, consumer spending growth in the fourth quarter is a big part of the reason the quarter didn't turn into a complete disaster. Not only that, consumer spending accelerated in the fourth quarter from the previous one.

Facts notwithstanding, the image of consumers hunkering down is fairly easy to visualize, so it's no surprise that Schoen decided to agree, but with a twist. "Given that have no long-term agreement [to cut spending], consumers are doing exactly what you're saying, they're hunkering down, because they're scared."

Well, they aren't hunkering down, at least not in the fourth quarter. But if they had been, it certainly wouldn't have been because there's no long-term spending cut deal because there is a long-term spending cut deal. It takes effect on March 1. And as we learned with yesterday's GDP report, the GOP's insistence on proceeding with it—or cuts that are equivalent with it—the single biggest threat facing the economy.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 08:50 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Classic example why watching Fox (17+ / 0-)

    ...makes one less knowledgeable.

    Whatever the Foxteapublicans say, the opposite is the truth.

    by Forward is D not R on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 08:52:44 AM PST

    •  Certainly true, (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shoeless, tuma, a gilas girl, dinotrac

      but on issues of the economy, much of the rest of the media doesn't do much better.

    •  Were the Fox "analysts" able to keep a (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shoeless

      straight face while dishing out such mullarkey?

      •  Sure. They believe it. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Aquarius40, cybersaur, a gilas girl

        Fox "analysts" are no more intelligent than Fox viewers. They are just parrots reciting RNC and right-wing think tank talking points.

        You ever notice that everyone who believes in creationism looks really unevolved? Eyes real close together, big furry hands and feet. "I believe God created me in one day." Yeah, looks like he rushed it.- Bill Hicks

        by shoeless on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 09:13:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Shoeless:Re:"no more intelligent than Fox viewers. (0+ / 0-)

          Pls. consider that some of us DK members access Fox news & other right wing sources just 2 round out what we know &
          what is just as well to not waste brain cells knowing.

          •  I used to watch Fox for the same reason. (0+ / 0-)

            After the Republicans stole the 2004 election, I decided that I had enough, and no longer gave a fuck what they were saying. I haven't turned on Fox since.

            You ever notice that everyone who believes in creationism looks really unevolved? Eyes real close together, big furry hands and feet. "I believe God created me in one day." Yeah, looks like he rushed it.- Bill Hicks

            by shoeless on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 10:42:36 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  why not? During the POTUS primaries (6+ / 0-)

        Herman Caine touted his turnaround of Godfathers in a year where he was able to increase profitability from 60% of stores showing a profit to 100% of stores showing a profit (he closed the unprofitable ones)  and therein lies the kernel of GOP economic theory: if the beast is sick, shoot it.  Don't tend to it; don't feed it and don't call the vet.  Just shoot it and then announce to the world the beast is no longer sick

        •  Always amazes me how the Right says.. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DSPS owl

          the government should be run like a business. They forget or are ignorant of the fact the the two have fundamentally different goals. One is profits for individuals and the other is protecting and advancing the welfare of a nation. The other, profits and losses are numbers and are quantifiable...hence Cain can cut his loss making units.  But how do you quantify profits from having clean air, clean water sources, uncontaminated food, safe neigborhoods, good roads, good schools and  teachers, walkable neigborhoods, parks and recreation, libraries, social cohesion, peace and happiness?
          -So it is the very height of stupidity when you hear supposedly educated folks say the government ought be run like a business.
          -Even if we choose to run it like business and it still doesn't make a profit (because not all business would make a profit), what do we do then? Close it down like a business too?

          "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis, 1935 --Talk of foresight--

          by tuma on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 09:58:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  using Herman as a model, this would mean (0+ / 0-)

            lining up public assistance recipients along the edge of the Grand Canyon and then giving them a shove.  He could then issue a presser stating he had completely solved our welfare problem

    •  And in other news, water is wet! nt (0+ / 0-)

      "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi // Question: "succeed" at what?

      by nailbender on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 09:31:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Demon business. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, chrississippi, StrayCat, a2nite

    Demon sheep.

    Whatever.

    The most violent element in society is ignorance.

    by Mr MadAsHell on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 08:54:09 AM PST

  •  Major Payne nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StrayCat

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 08:55:40 AM PST

  •  I hope this economic news encourages the President (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    to pivot the discussion from friggin deficits and slashing things to job creation. I'm not sure why he hasn't done that yet and it's beyond annoying.

  •  If a question posed by Fox is economic in nature, (6+ / 0-)

    then we all understand that the answer is- Lower Corporate Taxes.

    I don't know why they even bother with the rest of the conversation. The answer is always the same.

    "She was very young,he thought,...she did not understand that to push an inconvenient person over a cliff solves nothing." -1984

    by aggressiveprogressive on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 09:06:22 AM PST

  •  It's a simple matter (0+ / 0-)

    ...of who we want to be in charge of this country. Do we want the money or the people to call the shots?

    I vote Democrat because I want the people calling the shots.

    What happened to these Fox News morons when they were growing up that makes them think that way?

  •  I bet that after this panel was finished (4+ / 0-)

    the next report was a Fortune 500 company's earning release: record revenue and profit.

    I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business.

    by CFAmick on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 09:07:07 AM PST

    •  probably; I heard that the average American (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gordon20024

      family has a net worth of $78,000, most of it home equity.  This was germane as I noted my son in law's annual contribution to his 401K was about $1100 this past year.  He would increase the amount but the rest of his income goes to feeding the family.  Hard to be a Wall Street mogul and feed the kids

      •  I would think that is way higher (0+ / 0-)

        than the median, especially if debts are counted. (I know, you said "net" worth, but something tells me they meant net "assets" . . .)

        "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

        by bryduck on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 09:40:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  here tis; 40% drop in net worth from 2007 to 2012 (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bryduck

          http://www.usnews.com/...
          http://money.cnn.com/...
          from $126,400 to $77,300

          Note much of the original number and the drop were attributed to the real estate bubble so the 2007 assets were not "real" but still, considering the number of two income families, this number shows the inability of families today to accumulate wealth or to pass it down.  Maybe we need an inheritance EITC program where every American is guaranteed a certain minimum inheritance    

          •  Well, hush my mouth, then! (0+ / 0-)

            It is surprising to me, given my place well above the median in income, yet I have negative wealth. Anecdotes aren't evidence example # 47856545674356784365786

            "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

            by bryduck on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 12:04:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  don't feel bad (0+ / 0-)

              while I don't have negative wealth, what I have accumulated has taken over 40 years of saving and much of it went either into the bust of 2007 or into paying medical bills.  My son in law faces the problem of being a bit over median but yet is unable to save.  Every time he gets a bit squirreled away, it seems there is some sort of emergency to take it all away again

  •  About those "hunkered down" consumers (5+ / 0-)

    First of all, let me say that as an experienced consumer, I really have no idea what it means to "hunker down."  It's possible that I'm doing it right now and don't even know it.

    But the fact (oh, those pesky facts) is that consumer spending rose by 2.2% in the fourth quarter, up from an increase of 1.6% in the third quarter.  So if by "hunkering down" the Faux News idiot means "not spending their money," then he would be incorrect.  Or lying.

    You decide.

    From the WSJ article on the report, there's an interesting quote from a Wall Street research firm, calling it "the best-looking contraction in U.S. GDP you'll ever see."

    •  ironically I am actually now spending (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gordon20024

      a little money to feed some of my vices (certain antiques fascinate me) on the premise I am past 60, my health is shot and if I don't spend now, when will I?
      However, I note other consumers appear to be hunkering down because they have to.  Hard to buy 10K diamonds on a crew chief's salary

  •  Scarborough: it's years of Keynesian spending (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, cybersaur, Helpless

    Did not mention once the drop in defense spending. Instead, Mika asks Joe what's going on and he rails on about Keynesian spending slowing the economy. Wtf? This deliberate obfuscation is the straw that broke the camels back for me on that sow.

    •  Didn't Rachel cover this? (0+ / 0-)

      But what she didn't say, was that if they don't reach a deal to put of the deep defense cuts, the effect will be disastrous.

      Congress needs to kick sequestration down the road a year -- or undo it all together.

      Even Democrats can be asses. Look at Rahm Emanuel.

      by Helpless on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 10:28:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "expert pundits" (0+ / 0-)

    Is that like "jumbo shrimp?"

    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 09:10:38 AM PST

  •  If I ever hesitated over a Hillary presidency... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Aquarius40, offgrid

    it was because Bill surrounded himself with some of the dumbest blue dog fucks a person could imagine and I feared she would do the same.

    "Fmr. Clinton __" is a phrase used on Fox so frequently they just have to switch out the name.

  •  No surprise, it's what makes them Republicans. (0+ / 0-)

    Basic denial for nearly all intellectual thought is a hallmark
    of what makes a person a contemporary Republican.

    Clinging to ignorance and belief that man's nature is
    basically evil is what separates Republicans from reality.

    Ignorance is curable with the application and acceptance
    of information, which Republicans refuse to allow inside
    their bubble, leaving them trapped in the terminal condition
    of stupid. ;)

    *Austerity is the opposite of Prosperity*

    by josmndsn on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 09:14:13 AM PST

  •  if it was just fox and a few web sites and emails (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a gilas girl

    there's be nothing to their stupidity, it would go no where, and it would enable nothing.

    the problem is still that the left ignores the radio monopoly that has been amplifying their crap for 20 years.

    the stuff below gets repeated all day from 1000 radio stations to 50 mil a week.  it becomes acceptable and enables politicians and media to repeat it unchallenged merely because that unchallenged coordinated repetition and volume is ignored.

    "The economy has been slowed in part because there has been a war on success and constant threatening and demonization of business."
    Instead, former Clinton pollster Doug Schoen said both sides were to blame. Why? Because, he said, "we haven't done full-scale tax reform, entitlement reform, spending cuts, we haven't looked intelligently at defense, we haven't dealt with the issues of the debt and the deficit."

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 09:17:00 AM PST

  •  They are just doing their job. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, cybersaur

    Fox expert pundits are paid to get everything wrong about everything. Their bosses, and their viewers demand it.

    You ever notice that everyone who believes in creationism looks really unevolved? Eyes real close together, big furry hands and feet. "I believe God created me in one day." Yeah, looks like he rushed it.- Bill Hicks

    by shoeless on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 09:17:32 AM PST

  •  Let's cut to the chase (0+ / 0-)

    It's all Obama's fault.  

    The end.  

  •  Fox Fact Free Economic Analysis (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    What is most typical of Fox news is the construction of the panel.  They are discussing why GDP sunk in the 4QTR, so they bring in a political pollster, a rightwing hack with no economics background and a business reporter to provide fact free nonsense.  And of course the fox blonde bimbo to moderate.  They didn't even bring in a hack economist.

    You would think if you were talking about the factors contributing to a GDP drop you would consider at least bringing at least ONE economist.

    This panel is like asking a veterinarian to diagnose your kids cough.  I mean, the person is a doctor!  Or asking a baseball coach to give you pointers on your basketball shooting form.  The person does participate in team sports!

    These guys never cease to amaze me with their idiocy.

  •  economy faces major headwind? (0+ / 0-)

    any wind (and flatulence) comes from the GOP and their No theater (with apologies to devotees of Japanese theater)

  •  These people are such hacks the only place they (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, skod, rocksout

    can get a voice is on Faux News.  And everyone watching Faux News already thinks Obama is the devil.  So why bother.  I say let them blather on and on about how bad Obama is all day long if they want to.  It just doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.  Evidence:  Election results.

  •  Fox and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    a panel of experts...

    They are experts at BS, I'll give them that...

    “The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” — Marcus Aurelius

    Las Vegas Democrat Examiner | Examiner.com

    by David Phillips on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 09:23:46 AM PST

  •  "Fox expert" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, cybersaur, rocksout

    Isn't that an oxymoron?

    ...there is NOTHING--absolute nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. - Ratty

    by John Q on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 09:26:17 AM PST

  •  I'm betting that for FNC, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    "consumers" = "stocks, bonds, and hedge fund investors", not you and me. They could very well be "hunkering down", because they know a stiff wind is coming on the Street.

    "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

    by bryduck on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 09:28:00 AM PST

  •  Re:" there has been a war on success and constant (0+ / 0-)

    ...   threatening and demonization of business."  

    Well folks, this gives a pretty good idea as to where his "wind" is coming from.

  •  Yet more proof (0+ / 0-)

    that, for a large number of Americans, words may as well have no actual meanings.  How does one oven respond to this sort of thing?  Just popped in from the alternate universe, did they?  I wonder what the weather is like on their planet; is it like our Earth weather?

    "Forecast for tomorrow? A few sprinkles of genius with a chance of doom!" -Stewie Griffin

    by quillsinister on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 09:39:49 AM PST

  •  Maybe it is because Fox's bad attitude (0+ / 0-)

    The endless "the world is about to end" chatter from Fox and the like does not inspire much consumer confidence.  If you listen to their day-in, day-out whining that Obama's polices are going to ruin the economy so you better go out and buy a gun, hoard food and build a wall around your house, etc. nonsense they you would probably want to "hunker down".  This BS has been going on since Obama was elected and it has to have had an effect on the overall economy.

    The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones! - John Maynard Keynes

    by Do Something on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 09:45:35 AM PST

  •  Isn't "Fox expert" (0+ / 0-)

    an oxymoron?

    "Onward through the fog!" - Oat Willie

    by rocksout on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 09:58:01 AM PST

  •  2% growth, give or take, is not much reason (0+ / 0-)

    for happy dances.

    You need half of that just to keep up with population growth, let alone make a dent on unemployment -- especially for those who've been out of work for a long time.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 10:02:49 AM PST

  •  Note to editors: (0+ / 0-)

    Please observe the correct punctuation.

    It's Fox "News" Channel.

    Thank you.

  •  Charles Payne credentials (0+ / 0-)

    Payne attended Minot State U and Central Texas College. No degrees. Just another conservative college drop out who thinks they know more than Krugman or Stieglitz. Also check out his company's website: www.wstreet.com They post their track record there. From what I scanned its a lot penny stocks (a favorite of tea baggers) and most of them are losers.
    But yes, he's eminently qualified to talk about something the size and complexity of the US economy.

    "Liberty" is a living wage. "Freedom" is not worrying about your medical bills.

    by billybam on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 10:12:42 AM PST

  •  Comedy hour… (0+ / 0-)

    The photo headline has it all right.. FOX Comedy…. AND, what’s better to speak to FOX comedy is it’s own FAT, BLACK MAN, COMEDY CONSULTANT…

    He can be everything Cluster-Fox wants and tries to destroy in one breath… FAT… Not ANYONE on the CLUSTER-FOX nation is overweight… everyone is healthy.. ask Ailes !! Black… See, we’re (Cluster-Fox) NOT racists… We have black people in our ‘community’…. Comedy Consultant - See, we still have Hannratty and that Varney guy!! We’re comical !! Right??

    Bill Maher’s BUBBLE in full effect…..

  •  Contrast CNBC's report on the GDP ... (0+ / 0-)

    I finally found this reference to the GDP discussion on CNBC, as I was watching Squawk Box when they did their report on the negative dip in GDP this morning:

    Excerpt from transcript:

    "the 0.1% negative gdp number i think was the point bernanke's been making. he cannot offset government spending. that's not something the fed, i don't think, can do. partially because it's a mathematical thing. if you lower government spending it shows up in the gdp accounts."

    http://video.cnbc.com/...

    *Austerity is the opposite of Prosperity*

    by josmndsn on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 10:16:17 AM PST

  •  A modest proposal: (0+ / 0-)

    With all this chicken little fear of the government's deficits and debt Republicans should do two things.  1)  pay down all their personal debts and refuse to borrow more than they can pay off with their next pay check.   And  2) refuse to let government contracts to any company that is carrying corporate debt.  How is it that Republicans hate public borrowing but are wedded to private leverage?

  •  Who's the motor mouth in the white suit? (0+ / 0-)

    Man, she really hit all the Obama slurs in record time.  Is Roger Ailes coaching her to take Palin's place in the word salad line-up?   Incredible idiocy.

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