Monday, June 28, 2004

Economical with the truth

We've already seen a number of stories indicating that Bush's "jobs boom" was little more than an unconvincing CGI effect. Accounting tricks were used to proclaim the existence of jobs that should be there -- according to theory -- but which do not actually exist.

Here's the latest on the economy from Salon's James K. Galbraith (sit through the commercial; the piece is worth it): Inflation is up, the growth rate fell, manufacturing orders are slumping, and prices rose substantially faster than wages. Everyone knows that the interest rate is going up -- which is why the housing bubble continues to expand. In my California town, I ran into a modest 3+2 in a good-but-not-great neighborhood going for three quarters of a million dollars. Many Californians now pay somewhere on the order of 75% of their income to keep a roof overhead.

To combat the threat of inflation, the fed will raise interest rates, which will put more people out of work. That, in turn, will lead to foreclosures and bankruptcies. House prices will fall, but rents will rise, due to the influx of new renters. And Bush is slashing HUD assistance to renters in poverty.

Why, then, does the business press -- and the conservative propaganda matrix -- continue to bleat about a non-existent economic boom? Galbraith:
It lies partly in the incurable optimism of members of the business press. They want growth and rising markets. They believe in the psychological power of their own voices. But they have no underlying theory beyond the idea that psychology matters and that optimism leads to growth. Doubters therefore get squelched.
Of course, there's another answer, simpler still: People in the media are lying to keep Bush's election prospects bright.

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