- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 3, 2005

When the weaker-than-expected preliminary report on gross domestic product was first published in late January, the New York Times featured a story about it on the front page of its Saturday morning business section.

The author was left-of-center Louis Uchitelle, a reporter who groused in his story about soft business investment (outside of computers and software) as well as weak export sales to foreign countries. A month later, however, we have the revised GDP report for the last three months of 2004. The new data show a much stronger economy.

The initial estimate of 3.1 percent GDP growth for last year’s fourth quarter was revised upward to 3.8 percent. Business investment was revised higher to 18 percent from 14.9 percent. Included in this, the rise in non-high-tech business investment outstripped high-tech investment (by 15.2 percent to 13.7 percent, both at annual rates) for the first time since 1994. Private-sector domestic output — what Economics 101 students might remember as consumption plus investment (or C+I) — came in at an outsized 51/2 percent growth.

So what did the New York Times do with this upbeat economic story? The Times buried it. Rather than put the news on the front page of the business section, the Times editors shoved it to Page B4. Instead of carrying a senior reporter’s byline, the copy came from Reuters News Service.

At least the Reuters story accurately reported GDP grew 4.4 percent in 2004, ahead of a 3 percent rise in 2003, for the strongest gain in any year since 1999. Reuters also had the good sense to note the big gain in business capital investment and a much stronger performance for export sales.

I’m still wondering why the New York Times relegated this good news to the back pages of its business section. After all, on the Friday the report hit, the stock market rallied smartly on word of a stronger-than-expected economy.

But really, why should I wonder? A big economic gain in 2004 suggests nothing less than a bona fide Bush boom. Moreover, the boom is propelled considerably by the supply-side tax cuts President Bush and Congress put in place in mid-2003. Since then, the recovery has roughly doubled. Unemployment has fallen. Stocks have risen. Inflation remains tame. Interest rates remain low. And family wealth is at a record high.

Let me guess: The Bush-bashing New York Times just won’t get honest about America’s economic health and the merits of Bush policies that led to such strong performance. Even more, the Paul Krugman-influenced Times refuses to concede the economic growth power of lower marginal tax-rate incentives.

These have got to be angst-filled days over at the Times. It’s turning out Mr. Bush has been just as right on the economy as on the spread of freedom and democracy in the Middle East.

The mainstream media and their allies in the conventional-thinking punditocracy are heavily invested in Mr. Bush’s failure. You have to wonder how much more Bush success they can handle before they implode or, even better, change their tune. After all, on peace and prosperity, hasn’t Mr. Bush been right?

Lawrence Kudlow is host of CNBC’s “Kudlow & Company” and is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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