Donald Lambro

But it wasn't just Wall Street that was benefiting from the Bush rally. The benefits were seen throughout the economy.

Retail sales in December rose by 0.9 percent, the strongest increase since a torrid 1.4 percent rise in July. Consumer spending rose at an above-average 4 percent in the fourth quarter, according to a survey by Bloomberg News.

And as for all those predictions about the home-sales bubble bursting and bringing down the entire economy, existing home sales have been rising in the past two months -- signaling a needed turnaround in one of the economy's pivotal sectors.

Manufacturing continues to be another weak spot, but recent numbers show an increase in durable goods orders, led by the airline industry, and exports hit another record high last year, too.

The decline in manufacturing jobs does not mean we are producing or selling fewer manufactured goods. It doesn't get reported on the nightly TV news shows, but we are manufacturing and selling more than ever before and more than any major industrialized nation.

The happy result is that U.S. exports shot up by 13.1 percent through November 2006 over the previous year to $1.3 trillion. Exports comprised 11.2 percent of everything we produced in the third quarter, "the highest ever in dollar terms. It was 4.9 percent 50 years ago and 10.2 percent five years ago," the Commerce Department reported.

Throughout last year's election, the Democrats and most of the national news media were wrongly portraying the American economy in decline, despite the fact that the economy was growing by nearly 3.5 percent for the year. This was fueled by healthy job growth, creating 9.3 million new jobs since the end of the 2001 recession. That compares to only 360,000 in Japan and 1.1 million in Europe over this period.

Last week's reports from the Fed, government surveys and independent polls showing that a majority of Americans approve of the Bush economy was indisputable evidence that strong economies are built on lower tax rates. Bush, like the Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy tax cuts before him, has proved that once again in spades.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.