This lede from CNN is perhaps the most predictable incompetence benchmark ever to emerge in political reporting:
White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett acknowledged Tuesday that the White House underestimated the negative impact on the United States’ economic growth from the ongoing government shutdown.
Their story is based on Hassett’s Tuesday interview on Fox Business, and it’s best to watch the debacle yourself:
Keep in mind, Fox Business is supposed to be a sympathetic network, but Melissa Francis couldn’t help calling out the slow GDP growth for the first quarter, and how it’s being negatively impacted by the ongoing government shutdown. After explaining how workers that aren’t working don’t spend money—thanks, Kevin—he offered this sheepish explanation for why 3% growth is basically a pipe dream:
We made an early estimate right at the beginning of the crisis that was a little bit lower than the estimate you just cited and have been studying hard as this has gone on and have found that actually the damage is a little bit worse because of government contractors, something that was excluded from our first analysis.”
Earlier in the interview, Francis tried to get a straight answer from Hassett on his easily disprovable claim that growth upon the end of the shutdown will make up for what came before. She used the example of buying sandwiches—you’re not going to buy two when you make money again to make up for the one that you didn’t buy the day before. Hassett’s answer is, again, really something:
“What’s going to happen is that I think they’ve been promised that they’re going to get the back pay — which doesn’t really help them right now when they’re trying to pay the bills — but in the fullest of time, when they get the back pay, then that means that there will be a rebound in government spending. And so what will happen is it’ll be lower this quarter and higher next quarter, assuming that this thing gets worked out by the end of the quarter.”
Translation: “I hear what you’re saying, but I bet they’ll buy those two sandwiches.”
We know Trump himself is the king of saying absolutely nothing with lot of words and a few choice lies, but it appears that ability has trickled down to his administration—perhaps the only time trickle-down has ever actually worked.