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Ed Driscoll

‘The Best-Looking Contraction in U.S. GDP You’ll Ever See’

January 30th, 2013 - 11:02 am

“With the election now over, it is once again safe to talk about the economy and jobs. Now that it is not a campaign issue, it’s back to reality.”

Brian Williams of NBC, November 8th, 2012.

Why hide the decline, when you can brag about it? “Dems Tout Claim: ‘Best-Looking Contraction in U.S. GDP You’ll Ever See,’” Daniel Halper writes at the Weekly Standard:

In response to the news today that the economy contracted -.1 percent in the final quarter of last year, Democrats are touting the claim that this is “the best-looking contraction in U.S. GDP you’ll ever see.” The claim was originally made by chief U.S. economist for Capital Economics Paul Ashworth.

“The drag from defense spending and inventories is a one-off. The rest of the report is all encouraging,” Ashworth also claimed.

The claim was quickly seized upon by Democrats, looking to share good news about a contracting economy.

Contrast that with 1992, when it was necessary for the MSM to make a growing economy appear flat-lined. Back then, Big Media produced a steady-stream of doomsday economic news, such as a stark black September 1992 Time magazine cover which portentously asked, “The Economy: Is there light at the end of the tunnel?” As the Charlotte Business Journal noted a couple of years ago, of course there was — it simply wouldn’t become visible to the MSM until after they had disposed of George H.W. Bush:

How bad is it? Is the U.S. economy headed for a double-dip? A lost decade? A recovery this fall?

While the markets bounce back and forth on the various predictions, consider this little nugget circulating this week and in my inbox this morning:

“The U.S. economy remains almost comatose… The current slump already ranks as the longest period of sustained weakness since the Great Depression… Once in a lifetime dislocations… will take years to work out. Among them: the job drought, the debt hangover, the defense industry contraction, the banking collapse, the real estate depression, the health care cost explosion and the runaway federal deficit.”

That’s from the September 1992 Time magazine cover story. But here’s the best part: The U.S. economy actually grew 4.2% in the fourth-quarter that year and went on to enjoy a terrific decade-long run of prosperity. And we learned in hindsight that recession had actually already ended when the article was printed.

I remember vividly watching the media’s reporting turn on a dime back in November of 1992, once the election was concluded. Or as this December 7th 1992 Time magazine headline notes somewhat snarkily, “Bush’s Economic Present for Clinton.”

Today’s post-election economy is the mirror inverse of 1992. But then, as CNBC’s Rick Santelli, the inspiration for Tea Party notes, “When you act like Europe, you get growth rates like Europe:”

“When you act like Europe, you get growth rates like Europe,” Santelli said. “Our discussions with economists sound like we’re in Europe. They’re always doing the right thing. They’re always thinking they know better, and this the kind of growth.”

“We have become Europe,” Santelli declared. “We are now Europe.”

Funemployment! Pig sooie!

Power Line’s John Hinderaker asks, “Is the Worst Recovery In History Coming to an End?”, adding:

It could be worse: Great Britain is anticipating a triple-dip recession. Still we shouldn’t get cocky. The Obama administration has four long years to go.

Speaking of which, “We get £17,680 a year in benefits, buy 40 cigs a day, have a laptop and a home with 47-inch TV.. why work?”

I’m sure if Obama works hard enough, he can definitely top America’s latest contraction — and England’s, too. It should do wonders for his poll numbers.

Update: Bob Owens tweets:

I blame global warming.

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