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Friday, September 21, 2012
WND's Lame Attack on Obama's Economic Record
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 20 WorldNetDaily attack on President Obama's economic record carries no byline, which suggests that someone thought better of taking credit for it after it was determined that it would be presented as "news" and not opinion.

That rare show of apparent shame from a WND writer is entirely justified -- it's based on a dishonest premise.

The anonymous WND writer opines:

Twenty years ago, when Democrats tried to oust an incumbent Republican president from office, they questioned his economic stewardship. Vice presidential candidate Al Gore famously bellowed: “Everything that ought to be down is up, and everything that should be up is down!”

The argument seems more relevant today than it was in late 1992.

[...]

Applying Gore’s test to Obama’s economic record produces far worse results.

The anonymous writer then compares current economic numbers with those of January 2009.

Why is this dishonest? Because the economy was still in free fall in early 2009, and no Obama economic policy would take effect for months, making it disingenuous to blame Obama for the state of the early 2009 economy.

Had WND compared the current situation to the depth of the recession, Obama's numbers would look much better. But making Obama look good is not Obama's job. For instance, comparing the January  2009 unemployment rate of 7.8% to the current rate of 8.1% -- which WND's anonymous writer portrays as an example of "everything that ought to be down is up," ignores the fact that  unemployment peaked at 10.0% in October 2009.

The anonymous writer also makes a big deal out of how "the National Bureau of Economic Research says it actually ended in June 2009 – just five months into Obama’s term." But WND's own Jerome Corsi, in a January 2010 column responding to criticism of his isolationist book "America For Sale" by the Cato Institute's Daniel Griswold, denounced NBER's declaration of how the start of the recession was described as starting in December 2007: 

He insists the National Bureau of Economic Research, “the accepted authority on the U.S. business cycle,” puts the start of the recession at December 2007.

The National Bureau of Economic Research is a private, nonprofit research organization that is not part of the federal government and has never been appointed by the federal government to make official declarations of when recessions begin or end.

Pushing the start of the current recession back to December 2007 is a subjective determination that serves political purposes, allowing organizations like CNN to push blame for the economic downturn into the Bush administration, suggesting President Bush was responsible for the housing bubble that caused the recession.

I chose instead to use the more conventional and objective standard defined by economic statistician Julius Shiskin in the 1970s and commonly used by economists since then that a recession officially begins after two consecutive quarters of negative growth in GDP; this definition would set the start of the recession to December 2008.

So if, by Corsi's defintion, the recession started a year later than WND's anonymous writer claims, doesn't it mean it ended a year later as well? Or is WND simply engaging in the same "subjective determination that serves political purposes" that Corsi accused NBER of doing?

We're going with the latter -- this is WND, after all. 

This shoddy, cherry-picked article can even be true to WND's own internal logic. No wonder the author doesn't want his name associated with it.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:19 PM EDT

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