Thursday, August 31, 2006

Why Do Americans Hate their Fabulous Economy?

I often tell my students and others that they shouldn't trust "the news." "News" of the economy over the course of the tenure of President Bush seems mostly to have portrayed a bad economic situation. There is a post by an ECONOMIST AT BACK TALK that illustrates why you should not trust "the news":
Polls consistently show that Americans are rather negative about the economy, and many have wondered why that might be considering that our economy is the envy of the world (as well it should be). The source of our pessimism is a bit of a mystery, and it is one that I am going to pursue. For the moment, I'll simply note that I have identified what may be a contributing factor to our unwarranted despair: reporters rarely use charts, and that allows them to wax poetic about the 'jobless recovery,' 'worrisome signs of inflation,' 'record setting deficits,' and other such nonsense. Charts anchor the mind to the raw data, which makes it hard to use bumper-sticker slogans that mislead (and demoralize) more than they clarify. In any story about the economy, there is never an excuse not to use a chart, but reporters almost never do.
You should read the entire piece, and pay attention to the charts which lead to conclusions such as:
What you can see is that unemployment has been relatively low all throughout the Clinton and Bush administrations. Thus, all of the obsessing about the "high" unemployment rate during the last presidential campaign was so much nonsense. It was made possible because reporters avoided using charts like this one.
I also recently posted another illustration here.

[Via Instapundit -- Via Powerline]

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