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Inside the Beltway: The press can’t deny a red-hot economy

February 4, 2019

The stock market jitters late last year gave the hostile news media an excuse to claim that the U.S. economy was faltering, and that the Trump administration’s happy era had ended. Things change. News organizations have noticed.

“The labor force participation rate hit a near six-year high. Wage growth hit a 10-year high. Dems running for president are going to have a mighty hard time explaining to voters how their socialist policies are a better pathway to economic prosperity,” summarizes Michael Reed, research director for the Republican National Committee.

He cites Bureau Of Labor statistics released Friday which found that the “nonfarm payroll” has increased by 4,879,000 in the two years since President Trump took office, with an increase of 304,000 jobs in January alone.

The numbers have inspired some positive press coverage for a change. CNN deems the gains “remarkable,” while MarketWatch now describes a “blowout” economy.

“With the highest labor force participation rate in 6 years, the job market continues to defy expectations,” said Axios on the new stats.

“U.S. job growth surged in January, with employers hiring the most workers in 11 months, pointing to underlying strength in the economy,” noted Reuters.

“What do these numbers mean?” MSNBC’S Mika Brzezinski asked one CNBC analyst.

“They mean that the economy is still going strong and that actually, employers aren’t really phased by the shutdown,” replied Sarah Eisen.

“Wages and salaries for American workers rose more than 3 percent over the past year, the first time that threshold has been broken in more than 10 years,” said fellow CNBC analyst Jeff Cox.

“The employment cost index, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases quarterly, showed a 3.1 percent gain in the wages and salaries component in the fourth quarter of 2018. That’s up from 2.9 percent in the third quarter and tied for the biggest gain since the third quarter of 2008,” he noted.

AND NOW THE POLL

“Americans remain upbeat about the economy and give Mr. Trump credit, but are sour on the state of the country, overall. Seventy-seven percent say Mr. Trump’s policies are at least somewhat responsible for an economy that most feel is doing well,” noted a CBS News poll released Sunday.

It revealed that 58 percent of all Americans now say the economy is good. Another 46 percent credit President Trump’s policies “a great deal” for the current state of the economy; 31 percent credit the policies “somewhat,” 15 percent don’t credit them very much, and 8 percent don’t credit them at all. In addition, 45 percent say Mr. Trump has brought manufacturing jobs back to the U.S., and the same percentage have confidence in his ability “to apply business skills to government.”

The poll of 1,596 U.S. adults was conducted Jan. 28-31.

FOR THE LEXICON

“Demotrex”

A spoof medication for Democrats in age where free everything seems to rule their policies, as suggested by Fox News late night host Greg Gutfield, who included a parody ad for the fake med during his show on Saturday.

“Demotrex blocks the signals in your brain that are responsible for reason, logic, math and history so that you adopt a completely unrealistic world view. The result? It makes you overpromise things you can’t possibly deliver on. If you take it, people will like you, and think you’re cool,” intones an announcer in the rigorous pitch.

“Warning. Delusional side effects include letting everyone down. Political affiliation may impact performance,” the ad advises.

TRUMP’S WISE CHOICE

President Trump’s long-awaited State of the Union address is a mere 24 hours a way, give or take a few minutes or so. It has a direct and candid theme, an answer to the complicated, dysfunctional circumstances fostered by Democratic rivals in past weeks. The president has titled his speech “Choosing Greatness.”

Can’t argue with that. Though Mr. Trump will address myriad issues promising developments with North Korea and the southern border wall challenge to name just two Mr. Trump will also stress unity.

“Together we can break decades of political stalemate, we can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions and unlock the extraordinary promise of America’s future. The decision is ours to make,” the president will say, according to an excerpt of the speech released Friday.

A SIGNIFICANT MONTH

“National African American History Month is an occasion to rediscover the enduring stories of African Americans and the gifts of freedom, purpose, and opportunity they have bestowed on future generations. It is also a time to commemorate the countless contributions of African Americans, many of whom lived through and surmounted the scourge of segregation, racial prejudice, and discrimination to enrich every fiber of American life. Their examples of heroism, patriotism, and enterprise have given people of all backgrounds confidence, courage, and faith to pursue their own dreams,” notes President Trump in his proclamation for February.

“National African American History Month is a call to each and every citizen of our great land to reflect on the cultural, scientific, political, and economic contributions of African Americans, which are woven throughout American society. We remember, learn from, and build on the past, so that, together, we can build a better and more prosperous future for all Americans,” Mr. Trump said citing, among others, chemist and entrepreneur Annie Turnbo Malone, educator and stateswoman Mary McLeod Bethune, Tuskegee Institute founder and author Booker T. Washington and baseball legend Jackie Robinson.

POLL DU JOUR

40 percent of Americans say it is “not likely at all” that President Trump will leave office before the 2020 presidential election; 71 percent of Republicans, 36 percent of independents and 19 percent of Democrats agree.

22 percent overall say it is “not very likely” that Mr. Trump will leave office before the election; 17 percent of Republicans, 22 percent of independents and 25 percent of Democrats agree.

15 percent overall say it is “somewhat likely” that Mr. Trump will leave office before the election; 4 percent of Republicans, 12 percent of independents and 30 percent of Democrats agree.

12 percent overall are unsure if he will leave office; 4 percent of Republicans, 20 percent of independents and 8 percent of Democrats agree.

11 percent overall say it is “very likely” Mr. Trump will leave office; 4 percent of Republicans, 10 percent of independents and 18 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 27-28.

Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.

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