This is worse than a case of calling a glass "half-empty" when it is "half-full." This is like taking the glass and pouring it out.
Deirdre Bolton, an anchor for Bloomberg TV, appeared on CBS's January 9 "The Early Show" to report on a survey of economists Bloomberg conducted January 3-8 about whether or not a recession is in the immediate future of the U.S. economy.
"[W]ell, as you said the economy certainly is front and center," Bolton said. "And in fact in the latest survey of Bloomberg economists, economists putting the odds of developing a recession at about 40 percent. Jay Bryson - he's a global economist at Wachovia - he says we are skating on the edge of recession, but it's all going to come down to the consumer. Another economist that we spoke with said that consumers right now are really hanging on by their fingernails. And of course it's not really a surprise."
However, Bolton completely distorted the message of the survey - based on how Bloomberg's Web site reported it. An article by Shobhana Chandra and Alex Tanzi said the U.S. will escape recession, according to the economists in the survey.
"Economic growth will average 1.5 percent in the first six months of 2008, matching the fourth quarter's pace, according to the median estimate of 62 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News from Jan. 3 to Jan. 8," Chandra and Tanzi wrote. "The rate of expansion would be the weakest since the last nine months of 2001."
Bolton even made comparisons of the current economic climate to "when Jimmy Carter was president."
"We've had rising food, rising energy costs," Bolton said. "Also, the worst housing market in 27 years. So that, of course, was back when Jimmy Carter was president."
However, there is a long way to go before we can invoke the name of Jimmy Carter when making economic comparisons. Radio host Sean Hannity summed up the economy after Carter in his 2004 book "Let Freedom Ring":
"Jimmy Carter left office with the American economy sinking fast - soaring unemployment, double-digit inflation, double-digit interest rates, a contracting economy, and a sense that America's best days might be behind her."
Currently, inflation is at 4.3 percent and the interest rate for the benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage, according to Bankrate.com, is 6.14 percent. Those are just a fraction of what they were during the late 1970s.