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Nela Richardson of Bloomberg Government and John Carney from CNBC see mixed messages in the U.S.’s 2 percent growth in GDP and corporate profits. Plus, they say, the looming fiscal cliff may have, ironically, helped drive growth this year.

“Two percent isn’t that bad,” says Carney. “I think we were on the verge of entering something, a more serious recession. It looks like at least for the time being, we have avoided that. It’d be great to be growing faster, but 2 percent, it’s better than nothing.”

“It’s funny to look at what’s driving that two percent,” says Richardson. “It was really the surge in federal spending — particularly defense spending. And that spending was maybe driven in part because the agency is concerned about the fiscal cliff. It’s trying to get all its spending and contracting in now before perhaps automatic spending cuts take place next year.”

Listen to more of the conversation in the audio above.

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