Larry Elder on why people are so pessimistic about the economy

In February, our economy created 243,000 new jobs.

Yet one of our major newspapers tells us almost half of Americans consider the economy in a recession. American Research Group's latest monthly survey found 59 percent of Americans rate the economy as bad, very bad or terrible. Why are Americans so negative?

Compare the first few paragraphs of this particular story by Investors Business Daily to the way the New York Times reported the story. . . . .

Media Research Center examined the year 2005, specifically how ABC, NBC and CBS covered employment news. In 2005, the economy created 2 million jobs. According to the MRC, however, more than 50 percent of the stories involved job losses rather than gains.

. . . John Lott, economist and resident scholar at American Enterprise Institute, and Kevin A. Hassett, the Institute's director of economic policy studies, examined, among other things, newspapers' economic political bias as reflected by their headlines: "We found that newspaper headlines reporting economic news on unemployment, gross domestic product (GDP), retail sales, and durable goods tended to be much more frequently negative when a Republican was in the White House. And this was true even after accounting for the economic numbers on which the stories were based and how those numbers were changing over time."

In other words, all other things being equal, positive economic news under a Democratic president becomes even more positive news. Positive economic news under a Republican president suddenly becomes less positive news. And, on the other hand, negative economic news under a Democratic president becomes less negative news, while negative economic news under a Republican president becomes even more negative. . . .


Anonymous Keith said...

Hi John, That's interesting, It's a while since I checked the figures but on a recent visit to Italy i saw nothing of the supposed recession talked up by left wing journalists, critical of Berlusconi's leadership. Conversely, until recently, Blair's Bannana Republic was supposedly booming, while running the worst balance of trade deficite in it's history and with job growth largely confined to an obese state administration. Strange that.

3/23/2006 1:14 PM  
Blogger Chas S. Clifton said...

I suspect that the pessimism has less to do with the number of jobs created and more to do with falling purchasing power. One can be employed and still losing ground economically.

3/23/2006 10:24 PM  

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