Polipundit blog has several good, thoughtful pieces on the economy and why America seems confused about whether it is doing well, or not.
Lorie Byrd is writing: I remember going through this same thing in 1992 when the Bush recovery was described as the worst economy in 50 years until the day after the election, when it became known as the Clinton recovery. It frustrated the heck out of me then, and although it does less so now because this is not an election year, it still annoys me.
Yes, I get frustrated, too when I see unemployment figures of 5% and remember how, during the Clinton years the press threw confetti at 5.6% unemployment and called it “essentially full employment.” But if you stew on stuff like that all day, you just get old, fast.
Lorie points to this piece by Pat Hynes that is well worth reading:
The latest economic news is almost all good. The U.S. economy is presently in its fourteenth consecutive quarter of growth and it has created over 3.7 million new jobs since May of 2003. Unemployment is down to 5 percent, lower at this point of the Bush presidency than at a similar interval during the Clinton presidency. The booming economy has blessed cash-strapped state governments with found money. Even more astounding (or perhaps not so astounding to TCS readers), tax receipts are up, cutting the federal budget deficit by $94 billion, more than a fifth of it’s previously projected size.
In the most recent American Research Group survey from late June, 63% of all Americans rate the condition of the economy as “bad,” “very bad,” or “terrible.” 65% of respondents in the latest Zogby poll give President George W. Bush either a “fair” or “poor” rating on jobs and the economy.
President Bush needs to learn a lesson his father never did. Unless a president — especially a Republican president — talks constantly with the American people about the economy, he will be seen by the public as doing nothing about it. This is especially true when the news is filtered through a hostile press corps. And while doing nothing about the economy may at times be the best way to strengthen it, this view is not shared by the majority of Americans.
You’ll want to read the whole thing. Hynes is right. Bush too often allows the media filter, and allows the press and the opposition to control the narrative, without speaking up. That only works when you’re playing rope-a-dope.
Jayson has more thoughts on our economy.