The federal government reported Friday that real GDP growth rose by 5.0% for the third quarter of 2014, marking the fastest growth in any quarter since 2003. The number was higher than most analysts had predicted as growth was expected to be robust by closer to 4% due to initial estimates last month setting the growth at 3.9%. Increased consumer and business spending were the key factors leading to the higher number.
With a second straight quarter of rapid growth, the conventional logic thrown about from conservatives that President Obama’s policies are destroying the economy and the Affordable Care Act is the “nation’s number one job killer” looks downright silly. In fact, one of the major drivers in the fast growth is the fact that health-care spending has increased, showing that more people who now have insurance are able to utilize health services. This, in turn, also creates job growth in that industry.
This is just the latest in a string of good economic news for this current administration. Currently, the unemployment rate is at 5.8%, and job growth is at its strongest level since the Clinton Administration. Low gas prices are allowing consumers to spend more money elsewhere. While wages aren’t rising as fast as they should, they are finally moving up. Overall, Obama’s economy is humming along and is actually an improvement over the campaign promises from Mitt Romney in 2012.
On Friday, Steve Benen of The Maddow Blog discussed the issue Republicans will now face in attempting to criticize the economy and this administration.
As we discussed a month ago, GOP lawmakers have invested enormous amounts of energy pushing a very specific case: the combination of the Affordable Care Act, federal regulations, Dodd-Frank reforms, and higher taxes approved last year are a brutal “wet blanket” on economic growth. It’s all proof, they claim, that President Obama’s economic agenda has been a disaster for the country.
And in light of the recent jobs boom and the strongest economic growth in 11 years, the Republican talking points are starting to look a little silly.
Before we move on, let’s also note, in case GOP officials try to suggest there’s a connection between their election and the growth surge, the third quarter economic report points to data that ended in September – before anyone knew what the election results would be.
I’m also trying to imagine what the political world’s conversation would look like right now if we were in the second year of the Romney presidency. One can only assume there would be parades organized in the Republican hero’s honor and “Mitt” would suddenly become a popular name in conservative households.
That is really the thing. We know conservatives just cannot bear the thought of giving POTUS any credit for anything, especially when it comes to the economy. However, if this were all happening under President Romney, he would be lauded as a hero who brought the country from the brink of disaster. Meanwhile, while Obama is overseeing a strong economic growth and truly has brought the country from the brink of financial and economic disaster, we’ll continue to see Republican lawmakers and right-wing pundits harshly criticize him for his “terrible” handling of the economy.