- - Sunday, December 7, 2014


Since January 2009, most Americans have gleefully ignored manifold signs of economic affliction that the White House and elements in the mainstream press repeatedly mischaracterized as triumphant success.

The latest exercise in deceit and in journalistic malpractice began Friday morning when the Bureau of Labor Statistics trumpeted unexpected “success” on the challenging employment front — in theory, 321,000 jobs were created during November, a number far above analysts’ expectations

Shortly after stock markets closed, a CNN Money analysis published by Yahoo Finance cheered Mr. Obama’s apparent victory in restoring job growth despite the horrible hand he inherited in January 2009. By Saturday morning, Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez was almost emulating George W. Bush’s unwise celebration of success in Iraq from a podium underneath a banner that proclaimed “Mission Accomplished.”

Fewer jobs

But the hard truth is that under Mr. Obama’s watch, the number of full-time jobs has dropped while the working-age population has steadily increased.

In November, there were 248.8 million people of working age and an estimated 156.4 million available for employment. Of these, 26.3 million worked part time and 118.6 worked full time, outside the agricultural sector.

The current situation, years following trillions of dollars of government “stimulus” spending and unprecedented suppression of reference interest rates by central banks here and abroad is actually much worse than it was in November 2007.

Seven years ago as the structural economic crisis began gathering force, there were 15.9 million fewer working-age Americans (232.9 million), except U.S. government officials in the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that the workforce was just 2.6 million people smaller (153.8 million).

In November 2007, there were 2.1 million more full-time jobs (120.7 million) than there were in November 2014. By no stretch of any imagination is America’s working population in stronger economic shape than we were before the crisis bit so hard.

The key to living well is keeping a full-time job in a business that serves recurring needs of loyal customers, not working part time in a restaurant while dreaming about succeeding in the arts.

Why does the public accept whopping lies about the performance of the American economy that are spun through traditional media outlets as gospel truth?

Johnny can write, but not count

Want to know a secret?

Many big-name business and economic journalists are comfortable with words and writing, but really uncomfortable with numbers and mathematics.

For these writers, soaring stock markets since March 2009 trump concerns numerate observers have about towering debt levels, yawning government deficits and pressured after-tax incomes.

As a result, so much reporting on the economy is so bad, particularly concerning the period since 2007 when the global system started attempting to adjust balance between excess capacity and faltering demand.

Meanwhile, companies that own traditional media outlets rely upon maintaining regular access to senior government officials — if they press too hard in their questioning they could lose preferred access to more co-operative competitors.

Worse, if they “go rogue” examining the ever-growing number of economic and other scandals, they risk investigations that can cost increasingly scarce and valuable careers.

Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, a Democrat, New Deal proponent and ally of President Franklin D. Roosevelt once observed: “The Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to bare the secrets of government and inform the people.”

Mr. Obama and his team of media enablers practice a form of economic “alchemy” — they somehow turn bad results into adulation.

You, who balance your own budgets, spend ever more frugally and worry how to live in dignified retirement, know better. Throw off the swirling veils laid upon underlying economic truth by organs in the mainstream press and start believing your own “lying eyes.”

Charles Ortel serves as managing director of Newport Value Partners (NewportValue.com), which provides economic research to executives and to investment firms.

• Charles Ortel can be reached at ckortel@yahoo.com.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide