Friday, June 05, 2009

Under Obama, Ten Percent Unemployment is Described as Prosperous Economy

It seems like just yesterday when George Bush's unemployment rating of around 5 percent was described as symptomatic of a "weakening economy." Meanwhile, a CBS affiliate website just declared that the "Unemployment Rate Shows Hope" rather than the more logical slug of "Unemployment is at its worse rate in 25 Years."

The positive spin today versus the "horrible" scenario of a couple years ago simply don't make sense, especially when you look at the numbers from 2006:
  • Consumer confidence stood at a 2 1/2 year high. People were buying more and feeling better about their economic future.

  • Regular gasoline sold for $2.19 a gallon. This price is far too high, but less than today and certainly better than the direction it is going. "Cap and Trade" is just another name for gas taxes.

  • The unemployment rate was 4.5%. Economists define this as "full employment." This economy was surprisingly strong and the demand for quality employees was at an all time high.

  • The Dow Jones hit a record high. 14,000 and higher. Americans were optimistic about the future on both Wall Street and Main Street.

The raging optimism by the media about the future of the US economy is running rampant. In a story that would almost make one laugh because of how outlandish it sounds, CNN Money is reporting a headline stating that "Wal-Mart CEO: 'Our customers will stay with us.'" The subtitle goes further: "Citing a 'new normal' in shopping behavior, (Mike) Duke promises shareholders that the discounter will not lose customers even after economy rebounds." Rebounds? One recent upbeat Consumer Confidence survey and nearly ten percent unemployment translates into "rebound?"

I keep hearing from experts that, "no matter what, this economy will get better." If this Administration continues to pursue policies that tax and regulate job creation out of existence, job growth will be more of a dream than a reality. Government can either encourage job creation or deter it. This government is taking the latter approach.

The media intends to continue its course of being a cheerleader, rather than a force to hold the government and others accountable. You can see it in the headlines:

  • The Kansas City Star argues that "The Good News on Jobs Cloaked in Bad News." In other words, "ignore the ten percent unemployment, the worst job numbers in a quarter of a century, and your own gut instincts...everything is fine."

  • Reuters takes an odd, but up beat approach by staying that "Jobless Data Bad, But Better."

  • The Houston Chronicle is even more optimistic: "Report Adds Hope to Recovery."

  • Finally, the Associated Press states "Layoffs Slow as Recession Eases."

The stock market is still around half its high, unemployment is higher than it has been in a quarter of a century, and many new taxes and regulations that have a history of cooling off an economy have not yet gone into effect. Reports of an economy on the mend are quite exaggerated.

Back during the stimulus package debate, the Obama Administration warned that if the bill didn't pass, we would have 8.8 percent unemployment. With the package, we currently have 9.5 percent. It is amazing that this fact is large being ignored by the media.

The job of the media is to report, not promote. It is to ask tough questions, not be a mouth piece for those who would use it. The media today is responsible for "making history" instead of being a witness to it. As a result, it has so much invested in the Obama Administration, we will find it very unlikely that the media will hold this President accountable on the public policy front.

Kevin Price is Host of the Price of Business, the longest running show on AM 650 (M-F at 11 am) in Houston, Texas and on AOL Radio. Eric Bolling of Fox News and Fox Business says that Price’s Blog “is very influential and moves the blogosphere.” Steve Moore of the Wall Street Journal calls Price the “best business talk show host in the country.” Find out why and visit his blog at www.BizPlusBlog.com and his show site at www.PriceofBusiness.com. You can also find Price on Strategy Room at FoxNews.com.

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