The Commerce Department estimated Friday that the U.S. economy only grew at an annual rate of 2.2 percent in the January-March quarter, compared with a 3 percent rate in the final quarter of 2011, according to the Associated Press.
Simply put, economic growth in the U.S. has declined.
The numbers are so poor, in fact, that major news outlets are having a hard time spinning them:
An actual headline (photo source: WZ)
While the Associated Press assures its readers the “economy will continue to expand, slowly but steadily,” Reuters, apparently unable to find anything nice to say about the report, admitted Friday’s numbers were “tepid.”
But mild concessions, excuses, and promises of economic recovery aside, there is one critic who thinks Friday’s numbers are unacceptable: CNBC’s Rick Santelli, the man commonly credited with launching the Tea Party movement.
“And the survey says disappointing,” Santelli said of Friday’s economic report, “2.2! We were looking for two-and-a-half, we need three-and-a-half, and we hope for four. 2.2!”
“If you look for consumption, it's 2.9 and that's actually a better number than we're expecting. If you look at the GDP price index, this had a bit of a drop with respect to expectations but it’s definitely higher than our last look and that's 1.5 [percent],” he added.
Watch Santelli via CNBC:
“Disappointing would be my term,” Santelli said, “I know that there will be some out there, of course, that will spin it.”
CNBC guest Bart Chilton challenged Santelli’s assessment.
“Relative to where we were,” Chilton said, “If you look at the fourth quarter of 2008, we were at -8.9, so certainly this isn’t what people were hoping for but we’re still at least in the right trajectory overall, right?”
Santelli wasn’t having any of it.
“Well, I would say that every country in Europe has used that line for every number we’ve seen in the last year,” Santelli responded, “I would think that the United States is better than that. We don’t need to make excuses and lower the limbo bar so that pretty much you could drive a Mack truck under it.”
“I think we deserve more, we should get more just by trying to put some natural gas stations around the country,” Santelli, himself a huge proponent of natural gas solutions, said, “There are so many energy related issues that could bolster our economy, our GDP, and get us off of foreign fuel that that alone would make a huge difference.”
“2.2 is horrible! I wouldn’t make any excuses to call that a passable grade,” he concluded.
Matt Walsh offers to respond to Rolling Stone's comment request on one condition: 'I will provide a comment for your hit piece if you can define the word 'woman''