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malthaussen's Journal
malthaussen's Journal
July 4, 2015

Why are traditional economic indicators used to support the Administration?

Something I find increasingly puzzling is the use of traditional economic indicators to support the notion that the President has done a good job economically. Of course, there is no arguing that those numbers are impressive on an absolute scale, particularly figures for the Dow averages and overall unemployment. Yet many analyses have shown that wealth continues to be distributed to a disproportionate degree to the already-wealthy (for example, this article by the WSJ, which one would hardly suspect of Administration bias: http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2013/09/10/some-95-of-2009-2012-income-gains-went-to-wealthiest-1/ ). And figures for employment suggest that the greatest gains in jobs are to low-level (and low-paying) service jobs, not to work where one can actually, you know, make a living (let alone contribute to the Consumer Utopia). (For example, this article from the National Employment Law Project: http://www.nelp.org/content/uploads/2015/03/Low-Wage-Recovery-Industry-Employment-Wages-2014-Report.pdf )

So I'm puzzled. Doubtless, the rich have gotten richer, but is this a thing a Democratic administration is most concerned with? (I note that the Dow climbed briskly in the Clinton administration, as well. There are even posts at DU about it, for example http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=114x18030 )

It seems to me that traditional economic indicators give only a very incomplete story about what is really going on economically, and that the more complicated picture is, well, darker. And while "because it gives them bragging rights" may support the usage of the traditional indicators to tout the good job the Administration has done (and to contrast it with the lousy job done by the GOP), I can't help thinking it is somewhat intellectually incomplete, if not dishonest.

-- Mal

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