One thing the establishment press will not be celebrating this evening as we head into 2014 is the fact that they have been unable to convince the American people that the economy has been and will continue to be on the rebound.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released on Friday, which "oddly enough" (no, not really) is not being touted at ORC's related press release web page, shows that 68 percent of Americans believe the economy is in poor shape. Over half expect the economy to be in that condition a year from now. This came as somewhat of a surprise to Lucy McCalmont at the Politico and Gregory Wallace at CNNMoney.com.
McCalmont's brief post said that the result occurred "despite some strong indicators."
Wallace's longer report attempted to cite several specifics (bolds are mine):
Many Americans feel economy isn't improving (Note to headline writer: That's "most," not "many." — Ed.)
Despite a recent string of positive economic news, Americans say they aren't feeling the improvements.
A new CNN/ORC poll released Friday showed people were pessimistic that the economy was improving. Nearly 70% said the economy is generally in poor shape, and only 32% rated it good.
By some metrics, the economy has moved ahead this year. The stock market, for example, has surged -- the Nasdaq is up nearly 40% since January. Unemployment is at a five-year low point. Auto sales are at a seven-year high. Gas prices have dropped. And the housing sector, which dragged the U.S. into recession five years ago, is rebounding.
The Federal Reserve sees signs of strength, too. In December the central bank pulled back slightly on the stimulus that has boosted investor confidence this year.
But behind those numbers are the long-term unemployed, the under-employed and those who have dropped out of -- or never even entered -- the workforce. They're not sharing in the surging stock market, and many are about to lose jobless benefits.
Wallace's points about the job market are fine, but many of the alleged positive factors he cited really aren't when subjected to any kind of analysis.
Unfortunately, the average American is not sharing in much if any of the stock market's gains.
The point Wallace attempted on gas prices was pretty weak. The national average of $3.30 per gallon is still more than double what it was at the end of 2008.
As to the housing sector, new-home sales are still less than 70 percent of the 700,000 annual level considered healthy by writers at the Associated Press (I think it should be more like 750K-800K).
Finally, the idea that the Fed's "pullback" indicates "signs of strength" is ludicrous. Given that the annual deficit and mostly related additions to the national debt are about half as high as they were during the Obama administration's early years, the Fed should have been able to pull back much further if it were really comfortable with where the economy is going. But it's not, which is why its "taper," from creating $1.02 trillion per year of funny money to "only" $900 billion, was so small.
And of course, looming over all of this is the impact of Obamacare's exorbitant premiums and sky-high deductibles on Americans' spending hablts — something Wallace and McCalmont "somehow" forgot to mention.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.