You can blame it on the weather. Or no wait: you can blame it on Obama's tax increases. Or perhaps you can blame it on sequestration. Or the Fukushima nuclear disaster, war in Libya, the rich, or Donald Sterling and the NBA.
But whatever you do don't blame it on “their” fiscal policy or lack therof. Or monetary policy.
Because they are blameless.
Once again first-quarter GDP came out and disappointed. Instead of growing at a Wall Street consensus estimate of 1.2% annually, first-quarter GDP came in at an anemic 0.1% annual growth. That's the worst number since the fourth quarter of 2012, when the Obama administration, looking for a way to salvage their reelection chances, accelerated government spending into the third quarter to artificially goose the economy, jobs and the vote.
“The U.S. economy slowed in the first quarter to one of the weakest paces of the five-year recovery as the frigid winter appeared to have curtailed business investment and weakness overseas hurt exports,” writes the Wall Street Journal. “Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of goods and services produced across the economy, advanced at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.1% in the first quarter, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.”
Amidst a chorus of expert proclamations that the economy is picking up-- finally!—we hear now that economists are singing a hymn from the wrong page, in the wrong key and in the wrong church—again.
While certainly the weather is to blame for the anemic results, the consensus estimate of 1.2% GDP growth for the first quarter took into account that scientific phenomena known as weather. It’s not like weather has never happened before.
Truth be told, if you pick up the paper it seems that weather is actually picking up, as one would expect in the warmest, or coldest, or whatever time it is in the history of the planet.
Too bad it’s not helping GDP.