Rush Limbaugh responded today to the Bureau of Economic Analysis estimate that Gross Domestic Product estimates grew at an annual rate of 2.2 percent in the first quarter of 2012 by claiming: "There isn't any economic growth, there's government growth. But there isn't any private sector growth."
But that's actually the exact opposite of what happened. Private sector gains led to GDP growth, but the growth rate was depressed because of decreases in government spending.
And here are the facts from The Bureau of Economic Analysis
The increase in GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures, exports, private inventory investment, and residential fixed investment that were partly offset by negative contributions from federal government spending, nonresidential fixed investment, and state and local government spending.
Essentially, economic gains made in the private sector were responsible for the growth in overall output, despite reductions in federal, state, and local spending.
Indeed, in a blog post today, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman noted that "Obama, far from presiding over a huge expansion of government the way the right claims, has in fact presided over unprecedented austerity, largely driven by cuts at the state and local level."
Krugman included a chart that illustrates government expenditures and gross investment over the past decade:
That explains why Krugman is a Nobel Prize winner, and Limbaugh is not.