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May 13, 2009

Obama's "Green Shoots" Not Taking Root

How bad is the economy? Well, it's bad enough that economics become interesting. In a bad way.

No offense to Megan McArdle, of course. But economics are like a diet: Entirely unpleasant, and something you'd prefer not to think about. Until things get so out of hand you're forced to confront them.

McArdle on the "green shoots" in the economy (a.k.a. the "glimmers of hope" the media likes to push):

Retail sales fell again, despite confident proclamations that consumers had rethought their overreaction last fall. And foreclosures hit another record, which was oddly described as a "levelling off" by a lot of papers.

Want some cheer?

I don't want to push the Great Depression analogy too far, but what's surprising when you go back to primary sources from 1930 is the optimism. I don't mean to imply that everyone thinks things are just swell. But while you know that they are facing the worst economic decade of the twentieth century, they don't. They're expecting something more like the recession that followed World War I. People are cutting back, but they're still spending, particularly because companies are slashing prices to move inventory. It was the long grind of the years that followed, and the catastrophe of the second banking crisis, that scarred them permanently.

Wonderful.

Sorry to be Johnny One Note, but as the media continues to call record foreclosures a "levelling off" and trumpets the coming recovery, it's a good time to remember how the media played the Bush expansion, in which there was no such thing as good news. Only bad news, and stuff that seemed like good news, but in fact was a "worrisome sign" of a cataclysm to come.

As we face the actual cataclysm, suddenly the skies are bright and things just really couldn't be more swell.

Yup: Circa (Insert Year Here) writes:

One more time: Our fiscal house is such a wreck that the Congress is going to tax Coca-Cola.

I've said this before, but when, exactly, is the media going to alert the public that higher taxes are absolutely required by Obama's spending?

Isn't the public deserving of informed consent on this issue? Or does the media plan on covering up this most open of open secrets until the damage is such that there simply is no other conceivable alternative?

That's rhetorical, of course.

We know the left -- and people on JournoList, for example -- are busy, busy, busy inventing new "broad-based" taxes to make up for Obama's huge revenue shortfalls.

Ergo, regular media people know this. Certainly business and economics reporters know this.

But the media is pretending they don't know this, and that Obama's promise to not raise "a single dime" of new taxes on 95% of the public is not only provably false, but provably fantastical, as they make fun of Tea Partiers for "not "knowing that Obama's not raising taxes on them."

Um, he is. You know it and I know it. Many of us know it.

Obama's leftist supporters know it. They're counting on it, in fact.

There is one group that doesn't know it: The ill-informed, politically soft-headed group of voters called "centrists" or "swing voters," most of whom voted for Obama (and the Democratic Congress), and whose continued support is absolutely vital to the Democratic project.

But the media is not telling them, for the very reason that they are so vital to Obama and the Democrats. Obama can't afford to lose them, ergo the media cannot afford to break the bad news.



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posted by Ace at 04:39 PM

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