Captain's Quarters Blog

« New Weblog Showcase: Mr. Cranky | Main | You Should Try It From The Other Side »

November 7, 2003
Finally, the Strib figures out finance, sort of

Okay, maybe this is a sign of the impending Apocalypse, but even the Minneapolis Star-Tribune has figured out that the economy is improving:

For the second time in two weeks, the economy has delivered terrific news for President Bush -- and all Americans. The employment report released Friday shows that the nation's long jobless recovery has come to an end, and that the recovery's job-creating phase probably started last summer, earlier than analysts thought.

Coupled with a strong report on gross domestic product released last week, the data suggest that the economy finally is picking up steam after two years of lackadaisical expansion.

But, being the Star-Tribune, it simply cannot allow that Bush's economic policies may have been correct all along:

More worrisome are the long-term consequences of the president's budget policies. Rather than offer temporary stimulus -- the solution prescribed by a broad spectrum of economists -- the White House insisted on permanent tax cuts.

The Bush administration insisted on permanent tax cuts, especially on capital gains, in order to make people confident enough to start making long-term investments. But even the Star-Tribune has written off the recovery as only due to the temporary effect of rebate checks. For instance, the Strib reprinted Paul "Enron" Krugman's assertion just four days ago:

Consumers took advantage of low-interest financing, cash from home refinancing and tax rebate checks to accelerate purchases they would otherwise have made later. If he's right, we'll see below-normal purchases and slower growth in the months ahead.

The big question, of course, is jobs. Despite all that growth in the third quarter, the number of jobs actually fell.

Of course, this was printed a few days earlier in the NY Times, but the Strib always reprints Krugman, even when Krugman is demonstrably wrong (jobs grew in August and even more in September, and continued growing at a fast rate in October). Here's the Strib's own Mike Meyers, talking about rebate checks on November 1st:

The consumer spending spree that started with federal tax rebate checks last summer ended in September, even as personal income rose, the federal government reported Friday. ... It doesn't mean they're going to stop spending, but the big surge is over, [David Wyss] said. ... Personal spending fell 0.6 percent last month, and the personal savings rate was 2.9 percent in September, the lowest level since December 2001.

These checks were supposed to be the "temporary stimulus" that the Strib demanded instead of permanent tax cuts as an economic policy, and yet their own economists agree that the effect of these rebate checks are temporary and actually peter out very quickly. Businesses do not invest new funds into growth based on temporary surges in consumer spending; they only invest in growth when they can be assured of long-term prospects of favorable conditions, of money returning to the market over the long term (in both consumer spending and investment capital).

Of course, the Strib doesn't have a bias -- the leftist bias in the media is a myth, right? Especially when discussing economic science, a distinctly non-partisan area. For instance, back in August, the unbiased Strib printed a story in its business forum with this explanation of the risks of relying on projections:

But we must remember that projections are only educated guesses based on an evaluation of numbers. If we could reliably count on projections, we would be listening to President Gore talk about our economy and spending the rebate checks sent to us by the state.

Alas, this is clearly not the case. [emphasis mine]

Yeah, that mythical leftist bias in the media ... riiiiiiiiight.

UPDATE: Yikes, I forgot to mention that this is my entry in the Electric Venom Letter of the Day posting. (I'll assume that the anonymous commenter is either Kate or one of the Venom bunch giving me a timely reminder of blogosphere etiquette. Sorry!) Man, I get on a rant, I forget all about what the heck I'm doing ...

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 7, 2003 11:00 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry is

Design & Skinning by:
m2 web studios

blog advertising


Proud Ex-Pat Member of the Bear Flag League!