Press "Enter" to skip to content

America Not in Bad Shape: Better Economy, and a Little Less Bad TV!

Politico's Michael Grunwald notes that we don't get Pulitzers for writing good news. But on this Christmas, Grunwald says America is looking not just un-Pulitzerly, but more Bricksburgally awesome than many people expected:

Mitt Romney promised to bring unemployment down to 6 percent in his first term; it’s already down to 5.8 percent, half the struggling eurozone’s rate. Newt Gingrich promised $2.50 gas; it’s down to $2.38. Crime, abortion, teen pregnancy and oil imports are also way down, while renewable power is way up and the American auto industry is booming again. You don’t have to give credit to President Barack Obama for “America’s resurgence,” as he has started calling it, but there’s overwhelming evidence the resurgence is real. The Chicken Littles who predicted a double-dip recession, runaway interest rates, Zimbabwe-style inflation, a Greece-style debt crisis, skyrocketing energy prices, health insurance “death spirals” and other horrors have been reliably wrong [Michael Grunwald, "Everything Is Awesome!" Politico, 2014.12.24].

Matthew Yglesias posted a chart in this happy vein last week showing how the U.S. has outperformed its international economic partners in recovering from the economic crash of 2008:

GDP since 2008 crash for U.S. and friends
(Source: Council of Economic Advisors, via Yglesias 2014.12.18)

More Americans are working full-time, continuing a trend from 2013.

And in more great Christmas news, Dish Network has dropped Fox News after contract negotiations failed. Now 14 million Dish subscribers can spend the holidays detoxing from Fox's false-fear-o-rama (say, as Grunwald mentioned, whatever happened to Ebola?).


  1. larry kurtz 2014.12.25

    People still use teevee? Seriously?

  2. bearcreekbat 2014.12.25

    Don't forget the stock market, which broke 18,000 for the first time this week. While many working low income families cannot participate in the market, at least some families with 401K savings for retirement have seen their modest savings grow.

    Meanwhile, our newly elected Senator Rounds has apparently decided to advocate for abolishing the food stamp programs:

    An unfortunate Republican Christmas gift-wish to America's hungry and needy families and children.

  3. jerry 2014.12.25

    Those 401's are just the gravy the banksters are salivating over. When the market vaporizes again. Those 401's will vanish like breath vapor on a cold day. That still will not be enough though, now then they will come after Social Security.

  4. mikeyc, that's me! 2014.12.25

    People still watch Fox News? Seriously?

  5. Nick Nemec 2014.12.25

    While I wouldn't put it past Rounds and some of his GOP Senate buddies to not put further restrictions on the SNAP program, the web site Daily Leak is a satire web site.

  6. Randy E. Amundson 2014.12.25

    I notice China is missing from the chart depicting our recover as it pertains to other countries. I further am amazed that somehow you would like us to believe that our burgeoning $18+ trillion debt is somehow OK. Obama is responsible for almost $8 trillion of this. Now you can blame Bush all you want, but Obama is the one who operated without a budget for the first 5 years,thereby just relying on appropriations as they were needed. It becomes difficult to keep track of spending when the process is run a willy-nilly as Obama has allowed up until last year. He is a disgrace as a president, an incompetent leader and has taken this country down a path that will be difficult to come back from.

  7. JeniW 2014.12.25

    Randy, which president and legislators did anything about health insurance, health insurance for those with pre-existing conditions, before Obama took office?

    Those insurance issues were decades in the making, they did not suddenly appear on the day Obama took office. What happened that all the presidents and legislators (including John Thune,) before Obama failed us by not dealing with those issues?

    It is okay that you dislike Obama, that is your right. There never has been, and never will be a president that everyone, or even most, will like.

  8. Owen 2014.12.25

    "He is a disgrace as a president, an incompetent leader and has taken this country down a path that will be difficult to come back from."

    Don't quite get that Randy. He inherited a economy that was in shambles-thanks to Bush and the republicans. It just isn't about blaming Bush, its the facts.
    Obama has has had to fight Republican obstructionism since day 1. With the ACA he has made it possible for people to get affordable insurance or for people that have preexisting to even get insurance. He did what Bush couldn't do and that's kill Bin Laden. He got us out of a war in Iraq that never should have happened and we're in the process of leaving Afghanistan.
    While I don't agree with all of what Obama has or hasn't done he is a great President.

  9. jerry 2014.12.25

    Owen, you know how these guys are. They got saved by a black man and that is just not the way it works. Randy was happy as a kitten slurping milk while he shopped at the mall and watched us march off to war in Iraq. I am sure he is very delighted that America tortured people for the hell of it as well. He was also happy when his idol Bush told him to not worry about a thing and go shopping at the mall, I think he said America was open for business. Yep, we were open for business alright, open to get the business. Republicans have selected amnesia when you speak to them about 2008 and before. To them, it was all cake and ice cream. Randy will get his wish for these days of failure soon enough with this new bunch of scoundrels that will mate with the old band. Clueless bunch of ingrates.

  10. Jenny 2014.12.25

    The obstructionist tone was set when Sen Mitch McConnell said his goal was going to make Obama a one-term president.
    Obama is so not the "liberal" that 'Pubs make him out to be. Where is our universal healthcare, our progressive climate change bill? Wall Street loves this guy.
    I will always be forever grateful that Obama and the Dems did make healthcare reform a reality. Should he have focused on other important matters like our economy or climate change? Maybe, and that's up for debate. Obama has kept us safe the last six years, though I'm sure the 'Pubs won't even give him credit for that.

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.25

    Joyuex Noël, Randy!

    A comparison of GDP growth with China would be inappropriate. China is an industrializing country, with millions of people entering the middle class for the first time. Their natural demographics and their place in their economic evolution cushioned them enormously in the recession, while fully industrialized/modernized economies took a much larger hit. Thus, the above chart offers an appropriate and instructive comparison of national economies in a similar boat.

    (And actually, the Chinese are getting nervous that they are not sustaining the double-digit annual growth they had in the preceding decade.)

    As for all that debt, yes, we accumulated more debt in the recession, with lower revenues and higher spending by the government, the spender of last resort that saved us from Depression with stimulus and gave the private sector a chance to get back on its feet. But now, with the President getting us out of our deficit-funded wars and with the economy slowly, steadily growing, the debt as a percentage of GDP just turned the corner and started decreasing.

    The yearly deficit is declining. After spiking to just about 10% of GDP in 2009, the expanding economy and President Obama's fiscal restraint has the yearly deficit down to around 3% of GDP, lower than it was during most of the Reagan Administration.

    So Randy, would you like to come back with some facts to support your statement, or do you just enjoy throwing baseless insults at black Presidents?

  12. Jenny 2014.12.25

    Where were all these 'worried about the debt 'Pubs' when W was starting trillion dollar wars?
    The debt is worrisome, don't get me wrong, but it ain't nuthin' a few one percenters could fix by payin' a few more in taxes. They have made plenty off the wars, it ain't goin' to hurt them none.

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.25

    Another inconvenient fact for Randy's desire to shout mean things: U.S. GDP grew 5% third quarter. Cheap oil will help GDP stay up in fourth quarter.

    Governor Daugaard could get on board an help by boosting teacher pay and other public spending in South Dakota, and maybe coming up with a plan to raise wages for skilled labor in the state. Instead, he dampens the recovery by proposing a vanilla budget with no bold initiatives, no great economic stimulus, and the subsidization of low wages with a scholarship plan.

    Unlike Randy, I don't need to scream that the Governor is an incompetent disgrace. I'll just let the facts speak for themselves. I also can't say that the Governor is leading the state down a path that will be hard to recover from; the SDGOP from Janklow on has led us down that path for 40 years; Governor Daugaard is just keeping us there.

  14. Roger Cornelius 2014.12.25

    Yesterday CNN was reporting that President Obama's approval rating crept up to 48%, obviously there are more that disapprove of the president but his numbers are and will continue to climb. I wonder what those numbers would be if republicans actually looked at the facts and closed their eyes to what color he is.
    Americans are finally seeing some real money in their pockets after years of struggles, that discretionary spending is what makes our economy thrive.
    republicans will forever find some fault with the Obama Economy, regardless of how they profit from it.

  15. John Tsitrian 2014.12.25

    Cory, with GDP growth and government revenues both outpacing estimates by a good margin, the debt/GDP ratio should improve noticeably in coming quarters.

  16. Donald Pay 2014.12.25

    Well, yeah, the economy is "doing well," and people aren't feeling as if they could lose their jobs at any moment. That's the good news. But, other than a bit more job security, the middle class and those below the middle class have not been trickled on in this recovery. We still suffer from decades of Republican (and Democratic triangulation) policy that prevents the benefits of a good economy from going to those who do the productive work.

    Our family was lucky to have been able to participate in the financial markets over the last 7 years. Returns have been good, even after picking a few clunkers. Returns on investments average nearly 8-10 percent each year over those years. That's on a fairly conservative investments. On the other hand, raises in our jobs have averaged about 2 percent increase per year, which have been outpaced by cost increases in health coverage, energy and meat, even when making efforts to reduce health, energy and meat costs in our budget. The current downturn in energy helps, but if we just had jobs and no investments, we would have gone down in purchasing power/wealth every year.

    Many folks can't invest much, if anything. Those folks ain't feeling the recovery.

  17. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.26

    True, Donald. That's one problem Democrats had with running on the economy this cycle: we have real data showing real progress, but we still have a system skewed toward corporate power and concentration of wealth that prevents most voters from enjoying the full benefits of those improvements. We Democrats need to get back our ganas to be the progressive party that fights to secure the blessings of liberty and prosperity to the middle class. We can coherently and honestly do that; the deregulatory Republican Tea Party cannot.

  18. jerry 2014.12.26

    Very good and true article Cory. It is long past time to stop looking at ones belly button and move on.

Comments are closed.