Obama's Great Pre-Election Ruse
Economy: Little noticed in President Obama's "fiscal cliff" plan is a demand for a huge new stimulus package. Wait! Wasn't he and everyone in the press telling us just before the election how the economy was gathering steam?
In addition to the $1.6 trillion in new taxes on "the rich" that Obama demands, he's also pushing for upward of $255 billion in new stimulus spending for next year - including $50 billion for roads, $30 billion in extended unemployment benefits and various short-term tax breaks.
According to the New York Times, the administration's argument is that "the sluggish economy requires a shot in the arm." And, indeed, the Times paints a rather grim picture of the current economic situation.
Data show "the recovery once again sputtering," it reported Tuesday, adding that the "underlying rate of growth (is) too slow to bring down the unemployment rate by much." Manufacturing and exports are lagging, it noted, while consumers and businesses are "holding back" and "wage growth is weak."
What's more, the Times says, economic data have "come in surprisingly weak," and forecasters have "slashed their estimates of growth in the fourth quarter." Macroeconomic Advisers thinks annualized GDP growth will be just 0.8% this quarter.
Now they tell us. In the crucial last few weeks before the election, the mainstream media were falling over themselves painting a rosy economic picture. Every upbeat bit of data made it to the front page; any bad news got buried.
In fact, one month before the election, the Times ran a story touting all the "signs of growing economic strength" and boasting how the country was in the midst of a "steadier recovery than previously thought."
That same day, a USA Today story prominently quoted a source as saying "the economy is finally beginning to build some momentum."
In mid-October, AP reported that new retail sales figures showed that "consumers were shaking off high unemployment" and this "would help the economy emerge from the malaise that clouded the spring."
Then, just days before the election, the press paraded a consumer confidence survey that showed a strong uptick in the index. AP claimed it was a sign the economy was beginning "to make steady improvement."
Generally, the press agreed that growth would accelerate after the election, regardless of who won. Two days before Election Day, BusinessWeek proclaimed that "the economy is on course to enjoy faster growth in the next four years as the head winds that have held it back turn into tail winds." It added that "consumers are spending more and saving less," while "home prices are rebounding" and "banks are increasing lending." It predicted, "The die is cast for a much stronger recovery."
Now that Obama has won re-election on the claim that the economy is improving, it's apparently safe for the press to admit what it should have been reporting all along - that after four years of Obamanomics, we're still in trouble.