By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
With as many lies and distortions that proceed from this scandal-plagued administration, one might think that mainstream reporters would turn a skeptical eye toward another one of President Obama’s carefully crafted narratives. Each narrative is designed to push “progressive” policies or to cover up administration mismanagement. But our corrupt media reflexively cheer whenever the leftist agendas for amnesty, Obamacare, climate change, and economic regulation are mentioned. Add to the list of official narratives the hyped state of the economy, the successes of which cannot fail to be championed because they reflect on the viability of the current President’s policies.
Yet President Obama’s claims about how his administration’s efforts have boosted the economy, or that the economy is actually improving, are based on cherry-picked data.
“At this moment when our economy is growing and creating jobs, we’ve got to work twice as hard, especially in Washington, to build on our momentum,” claimed President Obama in his recent economic report, according to The New York Times. He continued, “And I will not let politics or partisanship roll back the progress we’ve achieved on so many fronts.”
Back in January, the labor force participation rate was the lowest since 1978. It has since increased by a mere 0.2%. And while hiring may be up, wages remain stagnant.
What type of progress, exactly, is the President citing? His entitlement and regulatory policies, such as Obamacare and proposed EPA regulations, shackle American economic ingenuity with an ever-increasing burden.
“Right now, as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed,” wrote Gallup President Jim Clifton in, “The Big Lie: 5.6% Unemployment.” “Trust me, the vast majority of them aren’t throwing parties to toast ‘falling’ unemployment.”
“Our concern with our analysts is that [the unemployment statistic is] very, very misleading because what America really wants are full-time jobs. … The percent of full-time jobs in this country, to the population, is the worst it’s been in thirty years,” Clifton said on CNBC. He connected this to the middle class crisis.
Mortimer Zuckerman, of The Wall Street Journal has argued that the President’s signature health care legislation depresses full-time hiring. “Many employers cut workers’ hours to avoid the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to provide health insurance to anyone working 30 hours a week or more,” wrote Zuckerman last July. “The unintended consequence of President Obama’s ‘signature legislation?’ Fewer full-time workers.”
But President Obama, his administration, and the media are on a full-blown public relations campaign to promote “middle class economics,” with more government as the answer.
“In a letter to Congress with the report, Mr. Obama called on lawmakers to approve his economic agenda of expanded tax breaks for the middle class and increased spending on initiatives such as early childhood education,” reported The Washington Times. “The president also wants to raise several hundred billion dollars through tax increases on mostly wealthier families.”
“The [recent economic] report…also contained a fair dollop of wishful thinking—or what some might call the administration’s own ‘dynamic scoring,’” observed Neil King Jr. for The Wall Street Journal.
President Obama has tied his favorite policies to theoretical economic gains which may, or may not occur. “So various measures to provide free preschool or expand the Earned Income Tax Credit would bring more adults into the workforce, thus expanding the tax base,” writes King. “A revamped immigration system would in turn lure more foreign-born workers to counteract what the president’s report calls ‘the effects of an aging native-born population.’”
“Although annual budget deficits have fallen from the trillion-dollar-plus levels early in Mr. Obama’s presidency, the national debt has continued to soar and topped $18 trillion late last year,” notes The Washington Times.
With the current controversy over comments by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani questioning whether or not President Obama loves this country, we are reminded of President Obama’s comments when criticizing then-President George W. Bush for running up $4 trillion of new debt during his eight years in office. Obama said it was “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic.” President Obama has so far added over $8 trillion in new debt, and he still has two more years in office. So how would he rate himself?
Both The Wall Street Journal and New York Times ran articles which summarized the economic report without questioning its assumptions, effectively offering the administration additional platforms from which to spout its economic spin.
I reported last November that President Obama unsuccessfully attempted to sell the “illusion of economic success” to the public in order to “salvage what most polls indicate is about to be a dismal election for Democrats.” This effort continued with the President’s State of the Union, where he argued that “we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth.”
Obama’s tired rhetoric of hope and change resonated with the media back in January, and it still does. Meanwhile, many in America struggle to put bread on the table.
“Not only have the ‘benefits’ of the Obama recovery not been ‘fully shared,’ but many Americans are still worse off today than when Obama became president,” reports Townhall. The 2013 median family income, “the most recent year available,” is more than $2,000 less than what it was in 2009 when Obama became President, it reports.
The media are doing their part to validate Obama’s claims about the economy. It is all about their political agenda and double standard.
“Among Democrats, there are divisions over the degree to which Hillary Rodham Clinton, considered their leading contender, should praise the recovery and run on Mr. Obama’s stewardship of the economy,” wrote Jonathan Martin for The New York Times on February 22. “And Republicans—assessing falling unemployment and soaring job creation under a president with still-mediocre approval ratings—are grasping for the right way to frame their 2016 campaign message.”
Martin, like so many other reporters, operates under the premise that the economy has actually recovered. But to the extent it has, there may be other factors at work besides Obama’s initiatives. How much credit for the nation’s economic growth belongs to the Republican-led states, such as Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida and especially Texas; states which are doing far better at adding jobs and balancing their budgets than the federal government? And how much is attributable to the powerful capitalist economy in this country, which chugs along despite the burdensome taxation, regulatory and bureaucratic demands that have been imposed on it by this administration?