Debra J. Saunders

America's sky is falling. A Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll conducted last month found that 78 percent of Americans think that the country is heading in the wrong direction.

Of course almost 4 in 5 Americans think the country is heading to heck in a hand basket. The news media are stuck in one gear when it comes to reporting economic news -- Armageddon.

As Hillary Rodham Clinton supporters so aptly noted, many journalists are besotted with Barack Obama. That makes them open to any bad news that can be tacked onto Republican George W. Bush.

But it's more than liberal bias. Journalists are convinced that the American economy is collapsing and going down the tube because our industry is collapsing and going down the tube.

So if you say the economy is "slowing," as Republican presidential candidate John McCain has said, you're insensitive. If you are in touch, you are supposed to ignore the .6 percent GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2007 and 1 percent growth in the first quarter of 2008 because that belies the belief that the U.S. economy is in recession.

Remember the "misery index" -- the combined rate of unemployment and inflation that peaked at 22 percent under President Jimmy Carter? Forget it. Not enough misery. In 2004, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry had to throw in extra statistics to inflate the Bush misery index because the combined unemployment and inflation rate was about 8 percent.

Lately, news stories report on American fears about inflation, without reporting the rate of inflation. It's about 4.2 percent. With the unemployment rate at 5.5 percent, the "misery index" is around 10 percent.

Yes, gasoline prices are up.

Granted, higher prices at the pump are forcing some Americans to cut back and have had a ripple effect throughout the economy. After years of arguing that greener energy policies don't hurt the economy, but instead create jobs, Democrats and talking heads should be cooing about the new economic horizons unfolding.

The housing bubble burst. A lot of people -- including this writer -- have seen the value of their homes drop, and those who have to sell quickly won't get the price they expected two years ago. Is there anyone who did not think that eventually housing prices would deflate? Is there a new law of economics that says: What goes up cannot come down?

Debra J. Saunders

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