Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Funny how the press reports economic news differently when there's a (D) beside the President's name.
During the 2000 election, with Bill Clinton as president, the economy was viewed through rose-colored glasses. According to polls, voters didn’t realize that the country was in a recession. Although the economy started shrinking in July 2000, most Americans through the entire year thought that the economy was fine.
But over the last half-year, the media and politicians have said we were in a recession even while the economy was still growing.
Gas prices are going up. The economy is slowing. Talk of recession is seemingly everywhere. While the majority of people rate their personal finances positively, consumer confidence in the economy has plunged to a 16-year low, well below what it was during the last year of the Clinton administration when we were in a recession.
A Nexis search on news stories during the three-month period from July 2000 through September 2000 using the keywords “economy recession US” produces 1,388. By contrast, the same search over just the last month finds 3,166. Or, even more telling, take the three months from July through September last year, when the GDP was growing at a phenomenal 4.9 percent. The same type of Google search shows 2,475 news stories.
Over 78 percent more negative news stories discussed a recession when the economy under a Republican was soaring than occurred under a Democrat when the economy was shrinking.
A little perspective on the economy would be helpful. The average unemployment rate during President Clinton was 5.2 percent. The average under President George W. Bush is just slightly below 5.2. The current unemployment rate is 4.8 percent, almost half a percentage point lower than these averages.
The average inflation rate under Clinton was 2.6 percent, under Bush it is 2.7 percent. Indeed, one has to go back to the Kennedy administration to find a lower average rate. True the inflation rate over the last year has gone up to 4 percent, but that is still lower than the average inflation rate under all the presidents from Nixon through Bush’s father.
A true recession would be a decline in a America's gross domestic product for two or more successive quarters of a year.
Does this look like a DECLINE to you?
Despite the housing market slump, spiraling inflation, and an escalating credit crunch, the U.S. economy should still manage to advance 1% to 2% in the coming year. Not great, but certainly not The Great Depression 2.0, as warned by former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich.
And yet, the mainstream media keep carping about us being in a recession! There isn't one, but all their doom-and-gloom reporting sure seems like an attempt to scare people into one (75% of Americans believe we're already in a recession – I can't imagine where they'd get that idea!). Seems like if the Democrats can't disparage us into losing in Iraq, they're gonna do all they can to tank a weak economy in order to blame Bush and then ride to the rescue with their patented "fix": a colossal tax wedgie.
Nope, no media bias here!