Media Embrace $300 Billion Jobs Rerun
The huge noise you just heard was the sound of … nothing.
A bit of nothing that was quite something - the latest job numbers. Total jobs gained: zero. Zilch. Nada. Dictionary.com lists 25 such synonyms for such a monumental failure. That's not even enough for one per month for the failure that is the Obama administration.
Fail at being liked by a lot of the public and you are George W. Bush, who served two terms as president. Fail at being ethical and you are Bill Clinton, who also served two terms. Fail at the economy, especially jobs, and you are the other George Bush, or worse, Jimmy Carter. Both soon joined the ranks of the unemployed.
That big zero came out on Friday, less than a week before Obama's latest marathon speech on jobs. Lefties and media types have urged the president to "go big" on jobs. Despite his bogus claims of bipartisan solutions, the meal he is looking to serve up is reheated stimulus. This is the Paul Krugman solution - spend till it hurts … the taxpayers.
Remember, nearly a trillion dollars of stimulus never did what it promised for even one month. That's right, the stimulus was supposed to keep unemployment from going over 8 percent. It's been over 8 percent ever since. Perhaps the original promise was a misprint. What Team Obama meant to say was the stimulus would prevent unemployment from dropping below 8 percent. That at least would have been accurate.
Early reports indicate Obama's latest jobs plan is just like the stimulus - only $300 billion this time, according to Huffington Post. The Washington Post said that "it seems like a replay of the economic agenda he outlined when seeking the Democratic nomination." The administration's motto should be: "If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try, try, try again."
It certainly is trying on the American public as it struggles with a long-term downturn. It's not just about the millions of unemployed or the collapse of the housing market. A new report from the liberal Pew Charitable Trusts says "nearly one in three Americans who grew up middle-class has slipped down the income ladder as an adult."
Most who lived it probably would describe it in harsher terms - perhaps falling down the ladder. Go three months without a job and it damages your savings and you have to scrimp some. Six months and it takes a huge toll. A year and you max out credit cards, borrow from family and more. As of the latest unemployment report, 6 million people were jobless for six months or more. And Obama is once again just getting around to jobs.
It's all extremely discouraging - unless you rely on the American media. Despite the collapse of their own industry's economy, they are too profoundly prObama to tell the story of our nation's economic cataclysm. Reporters were more than happy to hype a second Bush recession or worries about economic downturn in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. For journalistic Chicken Littles, if you say the economy is falling often enough, you eventually might get it right.
Now unemployment is nearly twice as bad as it was for much of the Bush administration Instead, they promote the latest Obama stimulus plan even before it officially exists. NBC reporter Jim Avila argued the U.S. "should launch a stimulus program as big as the one that was launched in World War II." Perhaps Germany and Japan would accommodate the U.S. in a rematch - for the economy's sake.
Avila went on to explain that "a $200 billion a year investment would produce two million jobs and lower unemployment by a point." Yes, for those of you not math-impaired, that's $100,000 per job or about twice the median household income in America. Avila is ABC's Senior Law and Justice Correspondent, not its house economist.
Or there's CNN's Ali Velshi hoping that the president's job plan doesn't fail. "Let's hope it is not DOA," he told the "American Morning" audience. And CBS's Dean Reynolds who worried that Obama is "saddled" by a "stubbornly sluggish economy." Note how little blame there is in that last statement. I guarantee you that if the economy were turning around, Obama would be given ample credit.
None of this is the way the media covered the Bush years where disaster hung near every turn - $40 a barrel oil, hurricanes, global warming or terrorism. Every possible circumstance was used to highlight a bad economy. Now, every circumstance is used to minimize a far worse economic situation.
The cover of Barron's this week was headlined "Where Do We Go From Here?" and illustrated by a bull and bear wrestling over the controls of the economy, with the direction in doubt. Very few believe that image. Americans know bleak when they see it.
The picture might as well be the American public on one side, honestly admitting that prosperity is not just around the corner. The media should take the bullish role, claiming Obama's "recovery summer" is lasting all year long - or at least during the news.
Dan Gainor is the Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center's Vice President for Business and Culture. His column appears each week on The Fox Forum. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.