Friday, August 21, 2009

Hysteria Day

Let's remember this date. Media hysteria is probably at its peak, although the extremes to which the 24 hour news cycle/ cable/ blogosphere/Twitter/etc. can go can never be underestimated. This is in fact their chief danger.

A month or so ago when things were so boring and President Obama's approval was in the 60s, the Democrats were certain to make huge gains in 2010 and the Republican Party was dwindling unto death.

Today the momentary conventional wisdom is that the Democrats are in for huge losses in 2010, Obama (with approval ratings from a tick under 50 to a tick under 60%) is reeling, and CNN is asking--"a one term President?"

His healthcare reform plan is stumbling, the economy is still sputtering and violence is up in Iraq and Afghanistan. writes Reuters, in one of many predominant stories about Obama's woes. Whether the healthcare reform plan is stumbling is arguable, since Congress is not in session, but we'll grant that the news generally isn't good. "Violence is up" is also arguable, and who can deny that "the economy is still sputtering." Still--

Also in today's headlines: Pace of U.S. existing home sales fastest in 2 years (also Reuters), Bernanke says prospects for return to global growth good (also Reuters); Fed, ECB eye recovery, too soon to hit the brakes (also Reuters: World’s Central Bankers Voice Optimism About Recovery (NYTimes), etc.

In a sane society, we'd be debating real stuff, like why employment is lagging (or is it? Unemployment went up at the same time as hiring--could it be that people are more actively looking for work now that there might be some?) and why California's unemployment is growing so fast (could it be because of state budget cuts mandating layoffs and the effects of program cuts on not only government jobs but private sector jobs of suppliers etc.?)

Nah, better to wallow in hysteria. Have a good weekend!

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