Sorry, Tom Raum: The Economy Is Not 'Clearly' Recovering
In "Go Ahead, Invade Their Phone Records: AP Reports Obama Has 'Alleged Scandals' and 'Alleged Misbehavior,'" Tim Graham at NewsBusters noted how Tom Raum at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, claimed that "Alleged misbehavior by the Internal Revenue Service and other federal agencies gives the GOP something else to talk about and investigate as the economy clearly, if slowly, recovers on President Barack Obama's watch, robbing Republicans of a central argument against Democrats."
That this is an exercise in sheer fantasy on Raum's part can be quickly demonstrated in two graphics.
The first shows how the economy's current seasonally adjusted unemployment rate compares to the past 29 years:
Excluding months during the second half of the most recent recession, all but one of which occurred on Obama's watch, the economy's unemployment rate of has only been higher than 7.5 percent twice during the past 29 years: in 1992, for five months, and in the first four months of 1984, as the economy was recovering from recessions caused by the policies of Jimmy Carter and the pre-Paul Volcker Federal Reerve -- and that's before considering other measurements such as the employment-population ratio which are at 30-year lows.
The second chart compares Obama administration's unemployment-rate promises against its delivery:
If President Obama's 2009-2010 stimulus had achieved what it promised, the unemployment rate would be about 5.5 percent right now . It didn't. It still hasn't. Unemployment is two points above its predicted level, and is also well above where Obama's economic geniuses predicted it would be if we had done nothing.
Raum claims that "a series of recent positive economic reports" support his clear recovery assertion. Actually, they're running about 50-50, possibly a bit to the positive side, but not by much.
And here's the crazy part: Recent stock market behavior indicates that even a hint at a decision by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to cut back on the artificial stimulus known as quantitative easing will trigger a serious and possibly even panicky sell-off. So if the economy clearly improves, there's a built-in mechanism which promises to ruin much of the good feeling.
Nice try, Tom Raum. No sale. This economy is historically mediocre, harming millions of people who need jobs, and isn't getting better at anything resembling a satisfactory rate.
Cross-posted at .