The 1st comment that popped into my head years ago when I saw my first “America headed in the wrong direction” poll was, “headed in the wrong direction on what issue?” You see, I feel America is headed in the wrong direction, too. Just not on the war. Or on the gains made in securing our 2nd Amendment rights. My very liberal brother might conclude the same thing as regards America’s direction even as he might stand completely opposed to me on these issues. The “America’s direction” thing is just so broad as to be nearly useless.
In reading up on the latest such poll, I found this little gem:
Robert Ovitt, 57, of Derby, Vt., who describes himself as a political independent, was among those who selected “wrong track.”
“It scares me, the way things are going now,” said Ovitt, who is facing retirement in the next five years from his job as a correctional officer.
“Ten years ago, we had a Democratic president, Clinton,” and the worst that happened was his affairs, Ovitt said. Back then, gas prices, interest rates, unemployment and the federal budget deficit were low, he said. “Now that we have a Republican, everything is sky high. … I mean I don’t know how we’re going to survive.”
Yes, I’m just sure Mr. Ovitt is really a “political independent.” But let’s go ahead and address his issues, shall we? Gas prices, interest rates, unemployment, and the federal budget were all, he says, much better back in the day when Clinton was President. Now that we have “a Republican,” he says, all of these are much worse. Now, I’m not going to defend the President nor the GOP-controlled Congress on the matter of the federal deficit. They spent like drunken sailors and we on the Right have denounced those actions consistently. After the 2004 election, (when we thought Congress’s Republicans had gotten the message that they needed to dial that back) they continued as they had been in the previous 4 years. We complained about that and sent the message than if they didn’t get it under control the mid-term elections would be a disaster. The 2006 elections were just that.
I contend that the problem would have been much worse with a Dem-controlled Congress, particularly since the major complaint they had all during the years they’ve been in the minority is that Congress hasn’t appropriated enough money. (Unless you’re talking about the military, of course.) That’s no excuse for the Republicans’ actions, however, and that’s why I don’t defend their record on the budget.
Unemployment is currently shown, by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, to be at 5.5% nationally, an increase of .5% over last month. As Ed Morrissey over at Hot Air has said, this recent jump does not correspond to any major corporate layoffs meaning that a large influx of workers suddenly entered the market. And what could account for a large surge of job seekers occurring in May, when school has ended? Perhaps, summer job candidates? Students, for instance?
The issue for Mr. Ovitt, however, isn’t the latest report, it’s the contention that things were much better when a Democrat was in the White House. Looking at the unemployment stats for the years 1993 – 2000 (with a Democrat President), you find an average unemployment rate of 5.20%. Looking at the rates from 2001 to the present (with a Republican President), you find a rate of 5.18%. Last I checked, 5.18 was less than 5.20 which would mean that unemployment is better under the current President than it was under the previous one, on average. What makes a statement like this even worse is the laud and honor bestowed upon Bill Clinton by the Democrats for the low unemployment rates enjoyed during the campaign season of 1996. The average that year was 5.4%. Looking at the unemployment rates since 2006 – a period of time we’re told by people like Mr. Ovitt has seen massive unemployment and economic ruin – you find that the rate for 23 of the 24 months of 2006 and 2007 was below 5%. In fact, only in December of 2007 did that rate touch on 5% before dropping again in January 2008. In the entirety of President Bush’s administration, that rate has never exceeded 6.3%, a figure less than that of any month of President Clinton’s first 2 years in office. It wasn’t until May 1994 that it finally dropped past that point, hitting 6.1%, again to fanfare. Only by restricting your view to the last 3 years of the last administration’s tenure in office can you make a claim against today’s unemployment rate. The Democratic efforts to the contrary, history did not begin in 1998. Oh, and let us not forget who was in control of Congress during those years.
Interest rates, too, show an interesting pattern when the actual figures are viewed. Mr. Ovitt may take the New York Times’ word for it that our economy is in the tank but when he contends our Republican President has launched interest rates “sky high” he needs the facts to support him. They do not. From 1993 to 2000, the average interest rate on a conventional mortgage as tracked by the Federal Reserve was 7.637%. From 2000 to present, the average of the same rate was 6.436%. The average during the last administration – a Democratic administration – was 1.2% higher than the “sky high” rates seen under the current – Republican – administration. The highest monthly figure tracked during those time period was 9.2% and 8.52%, respectively. Again, higher under the Democrat President. The Bank Prime Rate shows a similar pattern, 8.04% average versus 5.97%.
All of these figures are available for no charge from sources accessible via the internet. I found all of them in literally seconds by using a commonly-used search engine. That Mr. Ovitt didn’t avail himself of them when making his assertions isn’t surprising. He may self-identify as an independent but it’s fairly clear he’s biased against the current administration. No, the part that’s really bad is that the media – journalists, supposedly – simply transmit this kind of utterance without any question as to its veracity. They publish stories like this leaving as a statement of fact comments like Mr. Ovitt’s easily disproven dross. People without the skills to find this information and, frankly, possessed of a trust of the media that the media has long since broken will read this story and see confirmation of how unemployment is so much higher, how interest rates are so much higher than they used to be. That belief is 100% incorrect but the journalists who publish them let them go anyway. Our society isn’t well served by that act.
I’m 1 man and I have nowhere near the reach the MSM does but I’m not going to simply sit and shake my head when I see things like this. Perhaps the word will get around.