As Poor GDP Report Awaits, AP's Rugaber Starts Early With 'Prosperity's Just Around the Corner' Meme

During the Obama administration's 4-1/2 year track record of economic underachievement, establishment press business reporters have usually waited until the bad news actually comes out before working on convincing readers that future news will be better.

Not this time, at least at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press. Christopher "Gone are the fears that the economy could fall into a recession" Rugaber didn't bother to wait for tomorrow's report on Gross Domestic Product to tell readers that the rest of the year will be fine. The fact that these rosy forecasts have rarely come to pass during the past 17 quarters didn't seem to faze him a bit.

In a report which I found at the San Jose Mercury News but which oddly does not appear to be at the AP's national site, Rugaber also had the same tired excuses for the current quarter's poor performance at the ready:

Economy tepid in second quarter but will expand rapidly, economists predict

The economy is expected to have grown at a dismal pace in the April-June quarter, weighed down by large tax increases and steep government spending cuts.

But the second quarter should be the low point for the year, economists say. The fiscal drag is expected to fade. At the same time, steady hiring, more business spending and a solid recovery in housing should push growth higher in the second half of the year.

Economists forecast that growth slowed in the April-June quarter to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of just 1 percent, according to a survey by FactSet. That's below the tepid rate of 1.8 percent in the January-March quarter.

Most economists say growth is already starting to pick up. And many are predicting annual growth rates of between 2 percent and 3 percent in the third and fourth quarters.

There are threats to the better outlook. Unemployment is still high at 7.6 percent, limiting consumer spending. And budget fights in Washington could lead to a government shutdown this fall, potentially disrupting the economy.

Still, recent data have been encouraging.

"More and more of the economic tea leaves are pointing in the same direction: toward a growth revival ahead," Scott Anderson, chief economist at the Bank of the West, said.

How many times have we heard these predictions of "better growth next time"? (And while we're at it, 2%-3% growth isn't impressive at all in historical context.) How many times have these rosy future predictions come true in the past 4-1/2 years? Pretty darned few. Yet like a wind-up doll you can't shut off, the press and their go-to economists and analysts keep saying the same thing, over and over and over.

Of course I'd like them to be right this time. But thus far, hope hasn't triumphed over experience, and it's hard to see, in the face of the Obama administration and the Fed doing the same things they've been doing for years, why it should start doing so now.

The report coming out at 8:30 this morning will also comprehensively restate the past several years of GDP data. Those revisions will also be interesting to watch.

Cross-posted at

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