Try as they might, the mass media has simply not been able to push the U.S. economy into a recession this year. A new government report says the economy grew by 0.9 percent in the first quarter of this year, a fact that genuinely has to irk some of the editors and TV newsmen around the country who’ve been insisting for months that the United States is in a recession. (Quick fact: Economists define a recession as three straight quarters, or nine months, of NEGATIVE growth.) If we are going to enter a recession this year, it will have to start later than a lot of the “experts” predicted. (Of course, predicting the economy’s path is a lot like trying to predict the actual number of hurricanes in a given year: no matter how you pick it, you’re likely to be wrong and end up looking like an idiot.) A sub-1.0 percent growth isn’t much, but it’s definitely NOT negative growth!
The old gray lady herself, The New York Times, even ran a brief article on the economic growth. To say the article’s tone was muted is an understatement. I’m not saying that there’s a left-wing media conspiracy or anything, but it sure seems like the mass media would like nothing better than to send President Bush out of office amidst a recession. At this point, doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. (Interesting note: Back in 1992, all we heard about was how bad the economy was when, in fact, the economic recovery was actually 18 months, or six quarters, old when Bush-I left office. Yet Clinton-I got most of the credit for “restoring” the economy. Again, I’m just saying.) Not to mention the fact that in all honesty, the President of this country, like him/her or not, has about as much control over the economy as you or I do, which is not much. The economy is a force so large that no individual or individual entity could hope to do more than simply nudge it a bit here or there. Where it goes in the long run depends on the 300 million of us who call this nation home.