Larry Elder

In February, our economy created 243,000 new jobs.

Yet one of our major newspapers tells us almost half of Americans consider the economy in a recession. American Research Group's latest monthly survey found 59 percent of Americans rate the economy as bad, very bad, or terrible. Why are Americans so negative?

Compare the first few paragraphs of this particular story by Investors Business Daily to the way the New York Times reported the story.

Investors Business Daily, paragraph 1: "U.S. companies in nearly every sector increased hiring last month, lifting job growth to better than forecast levels and enticing more people into the labor market."

New York Times, paragraph 1: "American employers added 243,000 jobs in February and workers posted their highest salary gains in more than four years, the government reported yesterday, igniting concerns among many Wall Street economists that higher wages could fuel inflation and increase expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates further." [Emphasis added.]

Note the New York Times felt compelled to add a "but" or a "cautionary note" to the economic expansion. Someone made a decision to add a cautionary note, not that the proviso is wrong, or necessarily inappropriate, but it absolutely changes the tone of the story. But couldn't one also accuse Investors Business Daily of failing to provide balance by omitting this cautionary note?

No, for America's economy, by virtually any standard, remains an incredible economic powerhouse. From 2003 to now, the economy created 5 million jobs. Payrolls expanded for 30 straight months. Following Bush's 2003 tax cuts, federal tax revenues grew from $1.9 trillion in 2004 to $2.1 trillion in 2005. The monthly inflation rate for February 2006 stood at .20 percent. And 68.6 percent of Americans own their homes, a historical high.

Investors Business Daily, paragraph 2: "Nonfarm payrolls expanded by 243,000 in February, topping views of 210,000 and boosted by hiring in construction, financial services and health care, the Labor Department said Friday."

New York Times, paragraph 2: "But [emphasis added] some economists cautioned that employment is benefiting from the exceptionally mild weather in January and the beginning of February, and that employers' demand for workers is unlikely to remain as strong in the coming months." (In other words, oh, sure, things look good now, but just you wait, says the New York Times. Expect things to get worse.)


Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com.