After hyping a "fiscal emergency" that could "vaporize" America, the journalists at Good Morning America seemed slightly puzzled that daily life has continued. GMA anchor George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday talked to reporter Bianna Golodryga and marveled, "...Investors seem to be shrugging off any economic impact from the stalemate in Washington, those across the board spending cuts."
Golodryga lamented the lack of panic, complaining, "Yeah, isn't that kind of sad? It was basically anticipated that we were going to have these spending cuts." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Isn't that kind of sad? Golodryga admitted, "You're not seeing a huge effect on the economy. Economists are saying that we could have some sort of impact. It could slow growth but not really bring us into another recession." Just last week, on the same program, news reader Josh Elliott opened the show by panicking: "Jobs vaporizing, flights delayed, even criminals walking free."
On February 27, GMA's Jon Karl delivered a dire warning of "meat shortages" in America.
When it became clear that, at least thus far, Americans have met the cuts with a collective shrug, the ABC hosts responded on Monday by totally dropping the subject they had been hyperventilating about for weeks.
On Tuesday, the Golodryga segment was the only mention of sequester. That story totaled one minute and 31 seconds. The entire program is two hours. Stephanopoulos and the GMA crew spent more time on a segment promoting the final episodes of The Bachelor.
As if to wonder what the big deal was, an ABC graphic quizzed, "But what about...budget cuts? D.C. gridlock?" Oh, yeah. Those things.
A transcript of the March 5 segment can be found below:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to turn to Wall Street now. The stock market on a roll, approaching an all-time high. And for more on what's behind the bull market and whether it's headed for a fall, let's bring in our weekend GMA anchor, Bianna Golodryga. Bianna, it really seems like investors want to break through that ceiling.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA: That's right, George, and it could happen today. Let's take a look. We're only 38 points from setting a new record high. Of course, the record was set back in 2007 at 14,164. So far this year alone, the Dow is up nearly eight percent, 7.8 percent this year. So, what is behind the rally? Well, a number of factors, first we continue to see improvement in the housing market. And that effects a broad range of sectors. Not just housing stock, but also furniture stocks, materials, Home Depots, all of that having a huge impact on the stock market. Also, interest rates remain at near historic low rates. And, of course, the Feds keep pumping money into the economy. And consumer confidence is up largely because of the housing market recovery, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But Bianna, investors seem to be shrugging off any economic impact from the stalemate in Washington, those across the board spending cuts.
GOLODRYGA: Yeah, isn't that kind of sad? It was basically anticipated that we were going to have these spending cuts. And as you saw, from the beginning of the year, in anticipation of the fiscal cliff, you saw a lot of CEOs really rallying to Washington politicians. Asking come up with some sort of resolve [sic]. You didn't really see that now. You're not seeing a huge effect on the economy. Economists are saying that we could have some sort of impact. It could slow growth but not really bring us into another recession. But, of course, that could also keep the unemployment rate high. Right now we're expecting 7.9 percent unemployment for last month, George. On Friday we'll get that report.