A month later, however, we have the revision of the GDP report for the last three months of 2004. The new data show a much stronger economy.
The initial estimate of 3.1 percent GDP growth for last year?s fourth quarter was revised upward to 3.8 percent. Business investment was revised higher to 18 percent from 14.9 percent. Included in this, the rise in non-high-tech business investment outstripped high-tech investment (by 15.2 percent to 13.7 percent, both at annual rates) for the first time since 1994. Private-sector domestic output -- what Economics 101 students might remember as consumption plus investment (or C+I) -- came in at an outsized 5.5 percent growth.
So what did the New York Times do with this upbeat economic story? It buried it. Rather than place the news on the front page of the business section, the Times editors shoved it on page B4. Instead of carrying a senior reporter?s byline, the copy came from Reuters News Service.
I?m still wondering why the New York Times relegated this good news to the back pages of its business section. After all, on the Friday the report hit, the stock market rallied smartly on word of a stronger-than-expected economy.
But really -- why should I wonder? A big economic gain in 2004 suggests nothing less than a bona fide Bush boom. Not only that, the boom is being propelled in considerable part by the supply-side tax cuts that President Bush and Congress put in place in mid-2003. Since that time the economic recovery rate has roughly doubled. Unemployment has fallen. Stocks have risen. Inflation remains tame. Interest rates remain low. And family wealth is at a record high.
These have got to be angst-filled days over at the Times. It?s turning out that Bush has been just as right on the economy as he has been on the spread of freedom and democracy in the Middle East.
The mainstream media and their allies in the conventional-thinking punditocracy are heavily invested in President Bush?s failure. But you have to wonder how much more Bush success they can handle before they implode or -- even better -- change their tune. After all, on peace and prosperity, hasn?t Bush been right?