UPDATE - 7/15, 7:00 PM: Politico makes a nearly identical argument. Ace tears it to shreads. Details below.
The folks at ABC News are confused. Democrats are passing all this awesome legislation, they posit, so why are Americans acting so hostile and looking to hand Congress to the GOP? The key problems, ABC's Z. Byron Wolf deduces, are that Democrats simply have not embraced liberalism enough and Americans have failed to perceive just how great the Democratic agenda has been.
"The imminent passage of a tough new Wall Street Reform bill," wrote Wolf, pictured right, on ABC's website, "will cap off a wildly productive two years for Democrats in Washington – they will have passed two pieces of sweeping legislation and an enormous $800 billion stimulus bill to deal with the ailing economy."
Wolf goes on to wonder why those three pieces of legislation haven't benefited Democrats' electoral prospects. Let's see: 6% of Americans believe the stimulus bill created jobs, a strong majority favors repealing the health care bill, and almost 80% of Americans polled have little or no confidence that the financial reform bill will achieve its stated objectives. Is Wolf still confused?
Update - 5/27, 3:08 PM | Lachlan Markay: A new Harvard study finds that increased government spending actually reduces economic activity, contradicting the basic premise behind CBO's assumptions. Details below.
Good economic news is so rare for the current administration, that when some does emerge, many in the media parrot it as fact without really examining the claims that undergird it. New CBO numbers on the stimulus, for instance, have been trumpeted as proof the legislation at least helped, despite the fact that the numbers have little to no basis in reality.
Congressional Budget Office models are based on the assumption that stimulus spending will create jobs. They assume the conclusion they purport to demonstrate, and then claim they've demonstrated it. But if the model is inaccurate or simply based on false premises, it simply goes on tallying jobs "created or saved" without regard to the actual employment rate.
In March, a reporter asked CBO director Doug Elmendorf: "If the stimulus bill did not do what it was originally forecast to do, then that would not have been detected by the subsequent analysis, right?" His response: "That's right. That's right." Yet despite those numbers' disconnect from reality, the media continue to report them as fact, and proof that the stimulus is working.