Friday, April 21, 2006

Thoughts on the Economy

The next most often heard line from academics as of late, after "imperialism," is this notion that the economy is bad. "In these economic times" is something one of my professors often repeats to "make" a point about the economy. What point?

Here's an article about why Republicans just can't seem to take credit for the extremely strong economy.

In many ways, they say, these are the best of times: Unemployment is at 4.7 percent, lower than the averages of the 1970s, '80s, and '90s. The economy is showing strong, consistent growth, without significant inflation. And the stock market is roaring along.

Indeed. The economy is on one of its most strong upturns in decades. Yet for some reason Americans don't hear about it. Why is that?

"First, there's general concern about globalization and its effect on American manufacturing jobs," says GOP pollster Whit Ayres. "We see low unemployment, but the headlines are dominated by the thousands being laid off by General Motors and Ford."

There is part of it - the media. Yes, it's important to hear about GM and Ford, but poor business practices in a constantly more competitive market does not signal a poor economy.

The latest run-up in gasoline prices also doesn't help the Republican-led government in Washington, even if there's little it can do in the short term about that.

Also true. A kind of running joke between Mrs. radar and I is that a number of people we talk to on a regular basis think George Bush is directly responsible for the price of gas. "I wish George Bush would realize how hard it is on people like me" they say - aAs if Bush could wave a wand and drop gas prices a dollar. These same people also think we went to Iraq for oil. I really don't understand...

Independent pollster John Zogby sees the public's skepticism over the economy as part of a larger picture of overall concern over the direction of the nation and a president struggling to recapture Americans' confidence. "It's not just the economy," he says. "If we were at peace or the war was going well or there was confidence in other areas, then the economic news could be bolstered and people could begin to feel better."

Finally, we're getting to the heart of it. If there wasn't so much other bad news in the world people would be happy about the economy. Hardly - no one likes the economy now because people don't understand / can't see on the news / want to blame George Bush for something. The economy is great - it's just that there are plenty of people out there that don't want to hear it (and give credit to the President) or refuse to acknowledge things that don't make the evening news (and 4.7% unemployment doesn't.)

Let's face it - the economy is great and it's largely due to the President's tax cuts. If we could just get them to stop spending we'd be rockin'!

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