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Despite String Of Positive Developments People Still Think Economy Sucks

WASHINGTON - The war in Iraq and the soaring price of gasoline are drowning out a succession of positive reports on the economy, putting President Bush on the defensive at a time when he could be basking in good economic news.

Despite months of economic growth, tame inflation, resurgent job growth and an unemployment rate near a four-year low, public approval of Bush's handling of the economy is at the lowest levels of his presidency.

That has left his supporters perplexed over why Bush hasn't gotten more credit for the improving economy.

But analysts suggest a host of reasons -- including anxiety over terrorism and the Iraq war, soaring gasoline prices and high levels of mortgage debt in an environment of increasing interest rates.

I could think of a few reasons myself. Like maybe the fact that good economic news doesn't get much, if any, media play. And when it does its usually couched along with something negative, like "Unemployment Plummets While Soldiers Die Needlessly In Iraq."

Well, maybe not quite that bad, but you get my drift. The truth of the matter is that the media isn't very interested in good economic news. At least, they haven't been during this President's administration.

How can you expect Americans to feel good about their economy when most of what they hear about it is negative?

By Rob Port of Say Anything.


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Comments (14)

"The truth of the matter is... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

"The truth of the matter is that the media is very interested in good economic news."

I'm sure you mean 'NOT very interested', and I agree. The media always strives for the bad news and scandal, no matter who is President; though it is obvious most of the media shows a special glee or 'I-told-you-so' attitude when reporting bad news about Bush.

" How can you expect Americans to feel good about their economy when most of what they hear about it is negative?"

The exact same thing is happening with the Iraq war.

Despite a string of people ... (Below threshold)
Eneils Bailey:

Despite a string of people who suck, I think the economy is positive.

Let us know when the unempl... (Below threshold)
Just John:

Let us know when the unemployment rate and the national debt is back to where they were when he took over.

I think it is the gas price... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I think it is the gas prices.

I personally don't think the economy sucks, but then I didn't think it sucked when John Kerry and John Edwards were running around telling me it sucked and that there were two Americas.

Does anyone of intellect do... (Below threshold)
TheEnigma:

Does anyone of intellect doubt that the "elitiist media" would be praising the rise in the economy had kerry been able to steal the election? When a democrat is occupying the White House, the "Elitiist media" will look for any positive sign in the economy. When a Republican is President, the "elitist media" will ignore all that is positive and look and report on the negative

Our economy may not be doin... (Below threshold)
JacKB:

Our economy may not be doing badly at the moment, but I think we're still stuck comparing it to the late 1990's. No wonder its doing so 'poorly.' Of course, conditions like those may never arise again.
Given that, the long term indicators don't look too good. Our savings rate has fallen to zero, our debt and individual trade deficits are increasing very quickly, China holds more and more treasury bonds...there is no denying that a fundamental change must be made.

I agree with Just Me; its t... (Below threshold)
Toby928:

I agree with Just Me; its the gaoline prices that are causing this feeling of economic dread in may people. This morning, the price for regular unleaded at my local station was $2.45 a gallon. Outrageous. At least the greenies should be happy, they have insisted gas should be at EU levels for years.

As to the general economy, I disagree with JacKB about the need for fundamental change. I'm not sure what he means by fundamental (perhaps he could elaborate and maybe fundamental means something different to me) but I do think some tinkering is in order.

Tob

I live in a small town. In ... (Below threshold)
NtvAmrcn:

I live in a small town. In the help wanted section of our paper there are 2 full pages of adds. From highly skilled requirements to no skills at all required by the employers. The economy in the US is very strong. Good grief, just look around you to make your judgement instead of believing all the crap you see on the tv and in the papers from the "experts" who have have never ran a business or had a job in which they actually had to produce something that results in a profit for their employer. There is a multitude of opportunity out there and plenty of jobs that can lead to a prosperous life. I am really tired of whiners who think they do not have to actually work and produce something for their miserable lives to be "fair". I don't owe you a frikken thing. I have my own family to provide for. I don' need to provide for you too because you are a freakin socialist. I work to eat and have the things I enjoy. GET A JOB or START YOUR OWN BUSINESS and stop whining about our economy.

China, or any other nation ... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

China, or any other nation buying our bonds seems like good indicator that our economy is doing well. The news media keeps telling us how strong other ecomonies are compared to ours, especially China's. If their economy is such a "power house" and ours economy is circling the drain like they claim why do they choose to invest so much in ours? If we had a democrat in the White House the media would be reporting the total opposite if the same economic conditions existed. Things could be better but there's never been a time when that hasn't been true. Things could be a lot worse, and probably would be with a democrat in office, but then the media would be reporting that it was better than it actually was or telling us why it was somehow a republican's fault.

Bring back Mr. Peanut! Up w... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

Bring back Mr. Peanut! Up with stagflation!

In response to Toby: I was ... (Below threshold)
JacKB:

In response to Toby: I was wrong in using the word fundamental. I think over time some of the generic trends (spending patterns, financial instruments) in this country have not been so good. The fact that our savings rate is nil is a serious problem. Those are the funds from which we get new investment aka future capital infrastructure. Other ways to get this are through foreign aid and foreign direct investment, but the United States has neither (and, really has no reason to). Essentially, savings are the pools of funds from which we finance future growth - and the indication is that future growth will not be strong, and potentially even paltry.
This is only augmented (here I adopt the views of Thomas L. Friedman, to a lesser degree) by the fact that other nations are catching up in terms of technology and education. We are the most powerful country because we are the most innovative country. Nowadays, nations like India and China are bypassing us in certain technological advancements; as long as the language of international business is english that will not be an issue. But how long can we rely on the fact that our business 'savvy' is better than another's?
In response to Bullwinkle: China buys US bonds because they are the safest asset in the world, at least they have been since they existed. A well oiled machine surely would not default on those bonds. That isn't the point. When we do repay those bonds, they go to Chinese hands, not to fellow citizens. We essentially have a cross-country redistribution of wealth.

The United States is still the most powerful economy in the world; despite the rantings of once nobel prize worthy economists like Paul Krugman. We should be worried for the future though. Of course the economic ship will not simply sink and take us all down with it, but any slow, serious decline will be felt by us all. There are jobs, and there are opportunities and there will be for some time, but shouldn't we be minding the future as well?

General indicators can some... (Below threshold)
JackB:

General indicators can sometimes be misleading. For example, while unemployment has gone down - the newer jobs yield lesser income.

Given all this, I don't know how much of it is President Bush's fault, if any. When Clinton did nothing, we had a miraculous few years. Correlation is not causation, but it certainly makes politics a headache.

Well, the economy is luke-w... (Below threshold)

Well, the economy is luke-warm. Better than the depths of the recession, but not exactly cooking.

As another poster put it, it's not all Bush's fault - the economy is usually what it is due to a combination of the Fed and external factors.

However, here's what's not good about the economy - all of which have appeared in the press, and all of which are factual:

a) although a lot of jobs have come back, they are lower-paying than the ones that were lost
b) a good number of good-paying jobs have gone offshore and are not likely to come back in the next few years (IT, radiology, paralegal)
c) the unemployment rate is skewed by a historical low in the labor participation rate. In other words, there are a lot of people who aren't even trying to look for work because they're discouraged. Note: the rate has started to rebound in the last few months.
d) gas prices are taking money out of other spending
e) airlines and automotive companies are a total mess in the US...and they represent a ton of jobs.
f) 1/2 of all new jobs created in the US since the recession are in real estate. That's bad for 2 reasons: a) there is a finite number of homes that can be built or sold b) when the market cools off (and it has to - it's a cyclical business), a lot of people will be back looking for work.

For example, while unemp... (Below threshold)
kbiel:

For example, while unemployment has gone down - the newer jobs yield lesser income.

And the sun will rise in the East tomorrow too! Of course newer jobs offer lesser income. Companies try to turn a profit. When they hire new employees, they try to bid low at first. Entry level positions are obivous targets for payroll savings. Higher level jobs will be low balled at first, but once prospective hires become scarce, watch out.

You can blame Bush too! He has an MBA; he knew this would happen. I blame him for cutting our taxes and goosing the economy. I mean, it would be soooo much better if these people were unemployed instead of making $5K less then they did in 1999. It might even take them a year or two to recover that $5K. Talk about heartless!




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