Politics: The Obama administration recently created a new White House post charged with rapidly responding to unfavorable stories. They could have spared the taxpayers $72,500, since the mainstream press is already doing that job free of charge.
A case in point is the media's rapid and fierce response to Mitt Romney's claim that President Obama's economic policies have made the country worse off. Rather than investigate the claim, they've made it their mission to debunk it.
Reporters are challenging Romney at every stop, demanding that he square his talking point with the fact that, gosh, GDP is growing and the number of workers with jobs seems to be growing, too. And, look, the stock market is higher than when Obama took office. And so, too, are corporate profits. What right does he have to make such outlandish claims?
But — can you believe it? — Romney won't stop! CBS News' latest dispatch even complained in the headline that "Romney repeats disputed charge, says again that Obama made recession worse." Sure, they noted, the economic numbers "aren't stellar" but they "clearly paint a picture that shows improvement from a very weak starting point." So there.
To be sure, Romney muddied his message a bit, seeming to backtrack at one point in response to a reporter challenging his claim. And, to be completely accurate, Obama hasn't made the recession worse, since it was almost over by the time he got into office and before any of his policies had a chance to make a real impact.
But it's clear he's made the recovery worse. And there are, in fact, many economic indicators that are demonstrably worse since Obama took office. Here are a few we've noted in this space before:
There are 2 million fewer private-sector jobs now than when Obama was sworn in, and the unemployment rate is 1.5 percentage points higher.
• There are now more long-term unemployed than at any time since the government started keeping records.
• The U.S. dollar is more than 12% weaker.
• The number of Americans on food stamps has climbed 37%.
• The Misery Index (unemployment plus inflation) is up 62%.
• And the national debt is about 40% higher than it was in January 2009.
In fact, reporters who bother to look will discover that Obama has managed to produce the worst recovery on record.
By this point in the Reagan recovery after the 1981-82 recession, for example, unemployment had been knocked down to 7.4% from a peak of 10.8%, and quarterly GDP growth averaged a screaming 7%.