The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from PressRun

Want an unvarnished, unfiltered view of the U.S. economy, the kind that you're not seeing from the Beltway press today, as they push panicked inflation updates?

It's simple. Worker wages are up this year as employees enjoy unmatched leverage in the marketplace. Job gains are soaring. And companies are printing profits thanks to sky-high consumer demand —Target's sales spiked 13 percent in the last quarter and the retail giant expects double-digit gains over the holiday shopping season. That's crucial because consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of the economy. All the while, mortgage interest rates hover around 2.5 percent.

The specifics:

• The government dramatically undercounted the number of new jobs from June through September, so we now know an additional 626,000 jobs were created those months, blowing away the idea of a stymied hiring pattern nationwide. Remember the "disappointing" jobs report from August, with 235,000 jobs? It was actually 483,000 new positions. It turns out there's been a jobs explosion this entire year, and all indications are the trend will continue into 2022.

• Goldman Sachs predicts by the end of next year the U.S. unemployment rate will drop to a 50-year low, thanks to a "red-hot demand for workers." Under Trump, the rate peaked at nearly 15 percent.

• Retail sales surged 1.7 percent in the month of October, as consumers flocked online and into stores, splurging on electronics and home-improvement projects. American consumers spent $638 billion in October, a 16 percent increase from last year.

• JP Morgan upgraded its growth expectations for the economy, raising its forecast for the U.S. gross domestic product to climb five percent in the fourth quarter.

• Biden's pandemic stimulus plan has worked: "Households are sitting on a collective $2.5 trillion in savings built up during the pandemic," the New York Times reports.

It's a royal flush of economic good news.

Yes, inflation is up and it's a problem. Nobody likes spending $90 to fill up their SUV at the pump. That's why consumers say their confidence is down, even as they spend at robust rates. Inflation today is a global phenomenon, created by a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, not Democratic fiscal policy. (It's also being driven by companies taking advantage of a chance to raise prices again and again in 2021.)

The reason inflation has sprouted in the U.S. is because consumer demand is booming as the economy has recovered from Covid faster and stronger under Biden than most people ever thought possible.

What's revealing is how the Beltway media remain overly fixated on inflation, while often turning a blind eye to all the signs of a surging economy. In other words, if it's bad news for Biden, then it's treated as Big News.

By constantly doling out sour economic updates in the form of breathless inflation coverage, the press does the GOP's handiwork. The Washington Post this week announced inflation is the "defining" challenge of Biden's presidency. Why inflation? Because the press decided.

CNN insists inflation remains a "political nightmare for Biden" and claims persistent inflation "could make historically difficult midterm elections next November even harder for Democrats by overshadowing their legislative wins." CNN doesn't think that the millions of new jobs likely created next year and a plummeting unemployment rate will have any impact on the midterm election cycle — only inflation.

Here's what's happened: For weeks this fall, the Beltway press joined forces with the GOP to tell an hysterical tale about the state of the U.S. economy. It was an alternate version of reality, where the stagnant, faltering economy was being driven to the precipice by runaway inflation, which stood poised to demolish middle-class savings across the board. All while an ineffective president stood by and watched cash-strapped households suffer.

It was doomsday nonsense actively pushed by Republicans, who are gleefully rooting against America's interests. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) this week told the Wall Street Journal that if inflation pushes up interest rates next year, that would be "a gold mine for us."

The press wasn't holding up a mirror to the U.S. economy. The press painted its own picture. Desperate for a dramatic angle to lure consumers back to TV news and websites, and weirdly anxious to bury Biden, the Beltway media have gone all in on the Doomsday narrative. Remember that corporate media owners benefit from tax breaks when Republicans are in office.

The panicked tale was never true. In recent days, the new data points paint a clearer picture of the economy — it's a surging one that's powering through a stunning pandemic recovery and stands poised to blast off in 2022. An unemployment rate all the way down to 3.5 percent? A stock market sitting at the once-unthinkable 45,000 mark? Both are entirely possible in the next calendar year.

Today's press coverage suggests the economy is an albatross around Biden's political neck. In reality, it's booming.

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

The privilege of beholding the corals of Belize, the second largest reef system on earth, is a complete marvel that can never be taken for granted. The school of nine squid in perfect alignment that stared at us like transparent sentinels ,the green barracuda that floated as if in suspended animation, looking for prey. Those moments of utter awe were soul transformative not only for a child, but also for parents nurturing a young human to the ultimate reason to exist on this earth, to care for life.

Over the next few years, a battle was waged between environmentalists and those who saw dollars in the form of oil extraction in the reef. Thankfully on December 1, 2015, right after the Cop21 Paris Climate Accord, Belize made the tremendous decision to ban drilling outright -- and is working hard to restore coral. The same cannot be said for many other fragile parts of the world particularly the warming Arctic, where Russia has a near stranglehold of more than half the Arctic Ocean.

Keep reading... Show less
Youtube Screenshot

The saturation of the ranks of our police forces with far-right extremists is one of the harsh realities of American life that bubbled up during the police brutality protests of 2020 and was laid bare by the January 6 insurrection. The presence of these extremists not only is a serious security and enforcement threat—particularly when it comes to dealing with far-right violence—but has created a toxic breach between our communities and the people they hire to protect and serve them. Too often, as in Portland, the resulting police culture has bred a hostility to their communities that expresses itself in biased enforcement and a stubborn unaccountability.

Much of this originates in police training, which are the foundations of cop culture. And a recent Reuters investigative report has found that police training in America is riddled with extremists: Their survey of police training firms—35 in all—that provide training to American police authorities found five of them employ (and in some cases, are operated by) men whose politics are unmistakably of the far-right extremist variety. And these five people alone are responsible for training hundreds of American cops every year.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}