Today, Stuart Varney of Fox News tried to cook up a new conspiracy theory to discredit the 2 percent increase in the gross domestic product. Not only was his claim absurd and unfounded, but it also unwittingly endorsed the very policies he rails against.
In response to the report of a 2 percent rate of economic growth, which was stronger than expected, Varney found something to wag his finger at. “Dig deeper,” he said. “Look inside that report, and you see a big 9.6 percent jump in government spending. There is some suspicion that these numbers have been juiced by government spending deliberately in that quarter, in the report, right before the election.”
Varney also claimed that once the election was over, after they have presumably served their purpose, those numbers would be revised—and revised downwards.
But what Varney fails to note, in his kneejerk reaction to call foul, is that he essentially proved the argument that government spending can boost the GDP—which runs counter to everything Fox News, the GOP, and Varney himself have argued against since Obama took office. For the Republican Party, which has run on a platform of slashing government spending—excluding defense, where it hopes to add an additional $2 trillion—the economic reality appears inconvenient.
As Media Matters notes:
The increase in government spending during the third quarter marked the first quarter in two years when government spending increased. But the rate of increase was not unprecedented, undermining Varney’s effort to make this an election year conspiracy. Spending by the federal government jumped by 9.6 percent during the third quarter, driven primarily by increased defense spending. Federal spending increased at a similar rate during the final three months of 2008 and during the second quarter of 2010. Federal spending increased by 13.7 percent during the second quarter of 2009.
Increased defense spending is exactly what the Romney/Ryan ticket has prescribed—and what constitutes most of the boost in government spending in this third quarter—but to Varney, this is evidence that the Obama campaign has “juiced the numbers” right before the election.