Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

While some members of our staff are still laughing at some of the crazy online things poking fun at Mitt Romney's disastrous showing at the second Presidential debate ("binders full of women"? Who says that kind of thing?), the fact is, there are far more important things going on today even more likely to put a smile on your face.

Of course, if you're a Republican or if you subsist on a steady diet of Fox News and right-wing talk radio, the facts we're about to share with you might truly stun you. We know this because some of us do have conservative friends - friends who were actually quite surprised when we showed them the facts behind how positive the U.S. economy has become, especially lately.

Sometimes we find ourselves looking at our right-wing friends as though they've suddenly sprouted two extra heads, as though these people we've known and loved have become infected with some kind of twisted virus that numbs them to facts and reality. Down deep, we think that many of them are still the same people we've always known - which is why we keep trying to help them with facts.

For example, new housing starts surged last month to its fastest rate in more than four years, according to new data from the Commerce Department. By itself, that number might seem like an outlier, just a blip in the data.

However, these numbers on new homes don't exist in a vacuum.

The unemployment rate is at its lowest point since President Obama took over the disaster left to him by his predecessor. Consumer confidence is also at its highest point in five years. Retail sales are up, American industrial production numbers are up - even car sales are surging again.

Stocks are finding new highs too.

What's more, the Federal budget deficit is shrinking, down over $200 billion from just last year, and down $311 billion from Obama's first year when  - and remember, he inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit the moment he became President.

In short, the economy is looking up, thanks in large part to the policies of the Obama Administration.

Could things still be better yet? Absolutely. Congress could come back, and handle the responsibilities they've been shirking for most of the last two years, since the Republicans took over the House. They could pass the Farm Bill, fix the tax cut for the middle class, ditch the tax cut for the rich - and even pass President Obama's jobs bill, which is still languishing in the House.

Economists across the political spectrum agree that Obama's jobs bill would reduce the unemployment rate another full point - just the kind of economic boost that could turn all of these other numbers into a strong, self-sustaining economic recovery.

Of course, if you're like our three-headed friends, the only economic news you've likely heard is how bad things still are, compared to where everyone wishes they were.

The facts don't lie though - and neither do we. The economy is getting better - and it's certainly better than it was four years ago at this time.

Maybe we should keep the guy responsible for this economic miracle in place, for just a bit longer. Say... four years or so...

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