On Saturday, Ben Stein accused the media of whipping the nation into a frenzy concerning how the economy is doing. On Sunday, ABC's George Stephanopoulos proved his point.
While talking to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on "This Week," Stephanopoulos actually said of the economy, with a straight face no less, "In the last four years it's gone more down than up."
I kid you not (photo courtesy ABC):
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST: Four years ago you spoke at the Republican convention. Your most memorable line was about the economy.
(VIDEOTAPE) ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, GOVERNOR: And to those critics who are so pessimistic about our economy I say, "Don't be economic girlie-men."
STEPHANOPOULOS: The pessimists turned out to be right, didn't they?
SCHWARZENEGGER: Not at all. I think the economy goes up and goes down. It's the way the rhythm works, not only in America, but worldwide. And I think it is important that we go and...
STEPHANOPOULOS: In the last four years it's gone more down than up.
So, let me get this straight, George: Folks that were pessimistic about the economy in the 3rd quarter of 2004 were right? And the economy has been more down than up since then? Based on what statistic?
Let's start first with Gross Domestic Product. In Q3 2004, it was up 3.6%. Since then, the quarterly percentage growth rates have been: 2.5, 3.1, 2.8, 4.5, 1.2, 4.8, 2.4, 1.1, 2.1, 0.6, 3.6, 4.9, 0.6, 1.0.
See any declines, George? More down than up? I only see up!
How about jobs? The unemployment rate when Arnold made that statement was 5.5%. Today, it's 5.5%. At the time, there were 139.6 million people employed in this country. Today, it's 145.9 million. And, employers added jobs to their payrolls in 41 of the last 47 months since the 2004 RNC.
More down than up, George?
To paraphrase Ben Stein, I wish people like Stephanopoulos would stop shouting "Fire" in a crowded theatre.