Fox's Perino And Bolling Rehab The Economy Inherited From Bush

On Fox, Dana Perino and Eric Bolling cherry-picked facts to prop up former President Bush's economic record and complain that the “blaming Bush stuff” is “annoying.” In fact, recent data show that the economy inherited from Bush shrank by 8.9 percent in the final months of 2008 -- the largest such decline in more than 50 years.

Perino, Bolling Cherry-Picked Facts To Prop Up Economy Inherited From Bush

Perino: Obama “Blaming Bush” For The Economy Is “Kind Of Annoying.” On Fox & Friends, Bolling told Perino that there is “a lot of finger-pointing ... going on from the Obama White House” at her former boss, Bush, which she called “expected” but “annoying.” From the August 8 edition of Fox & Friends:

BOLLING: I'm watching the stock market, the futures market tick down -- 250 lower right now. You know, a lot -- a lot of finger-pointing is going on in the Obama White House at your former boss, George Bush, saying, hey, we inherited that recession; we inherited that -- all that malaise. Guess what they also inherited from you and your boss was a AAA credit rating. Weigh in on the first-ever downgrade of American debt.

PERINO: Well, the blaming Bush stuff is kind of expected, kind of annoying. If they think that they're going to go into this next election year and that they could win once again by blaming Bush, I think they're mistaken. But the other thing is, I think this -- let's back up here.

This is not a Republican or a Democrat thing. We have built up a spending -- spending that we cannot afford. We have too few workers working too few years in order to pay the entitlements that we have promised to people who now say, don't you dare touch my Medicare. That's really the problem, and it's unfortunate that the first thing they did was want to divide people. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/8/11]

But The Economy Inherited From Bush Was Shrinking At A Historic Pace

McClatchy: “The Great Recession, Already The Worst Downturn Since The 1930s, Was Even More Damaging Than Previously Recognized.” On July 29, McClatchy reported on revisions the Bureau of Economic Analysis released to its estimates of the economy from 2008-2010, writing:

The revision found that in 2008 the economy actually contracted rather than eking out a tiny gain as initially reported, and 2009 growth was almost a full percentage point slower than estimated earlier.

The quarterly percentage change in real gross domestic product was revised down for six of the 12 quarters reviewed. That means the Great Recession, already the worst downturn since the 1930s, was even more damaging that previously recognized. [McClatchy, 7/29/11]

IHS Global Insight: Economic Contraction In 2008 Was “The Worst Single-Quarter Decline In GDP Since ... 1958.” A report on the revised GDP figures from global information company, IHS Global Insight, noted:

The fourth quarter of 2008, right after the Lehman failure, now shows an 8.9% annual rate of decline in GDP (previously 6.8%), and now represents the worst single-quarter decline in GDP since the 10.4% drop in the first quarter of 1958, exceeding the 7.9% decline in the second quarter of 1980. The revisions then made the initial rebound a bit faster (with growth running just below 4% in the first and second quarters of 2010), but then showed the recovery losing momentum over the second half of 2010 and tailing away to just 0.4% in the first quarter of 2011 (previously 1.9%) and 1.3% in the second. Although the second quarter was disappointing, the revisions mean that it actually shows stronger growth than the first. [IHS Global Insight, 7/29/11]

AP: “The 2007-2009 Recession ... Was Even Worse Than Previously Thought.” The Associated Press reported:

The 2007-2009 recession, already in the record books as the worst in the 66 years since the end of World War II, was even worse than previously thought.

From the start of the recession at the end of 2007 to the end in June of 2009, the U.S. economy shrank 5.1 percent. That is 1 percentage point worse than the previous estimate that the recession reduced total output during that period by 4.1 percent.

The new estimates emerged from the annual revision of economic data prepared by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis and released Friday.

Among the previous 10 postwar recessions, output in only two dropped by more 3 percent. In the 1957-58 recession, the economy contracted 3.7 percent. And during the 1973-1975 downturn, the economy fell 3.2 percent from the start of the recession to the end. [Associated Press, 7/29/11]

The Economist: Revised Numbers Reveal “Shocking” Fall In GDP At The End Of 2008. The Economist reported on BEA's revised numbers, calling the new data “shocking”:

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) revised its numbers back through the recession, revealing a downturn more serious than previously understood. The BEA's first estimate of output in the fourth quarter of 2008, published in January of 2009, showed a contraction of 3.8%, later revised to a 6.8% drop. The new numbers change the figure yet again, to a shocking 8.9% fall in GDP. For 2009 as a whole, the American economy shrank by 3.5% rather than the previously reported 2.6%. [The Economist, 8/6/11]