"I don't care what number crunchers say," Bush declared in March 2002, disputing economic statistics that minimized the effect of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the national economy. Yet when the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew from a 3.3% annual rate in the second quarter of 2003 to a 8.2% annual rate in the third quarter, the White House trumpeted the news as evidence that its policies were successfully stimulating the economy.
Low interest rates and an influx of cash from tax cuts had led analysts to predict a growth spurt, but the size of the increase in growth rate took many by surprise. Household spending increased from 3.8% in the second quarter to 6.6% in the third quarter; corporate spending increased by 11% over the same period. Exports increased by 9% in the third quarter, helped by a dollar whose value relative to other currencies had declined, making US goods cheaper.
But, in the view of many analysts, a growth spurt driven by consumer spending and funded by a tax cut is unlikely to last.