Liberal Media and Politicians Sell Fear — Because They Can’t Admit Things are Good
In our time, selling fear has become the norm. And that’s bad for us. Because things aren’t perfect, but they’re better than the media and liberal politicians tell us.
Constant churning means that people will pay attention to the news cycle. News is a business, and a business that preys on people’s fears. It’s been that way since the first paper was ever printed. Politicians are also in a business that preys on people’s fears.
Christians know that we live in a fallen world in which perfection will never be realized this side of Jesus’s rule on earth. The total number of people who are unemployed, only working part-time or too discouraged to look for work, stands at 8.1 percent. This is not good news. Yet, in January, we gained 304,000 new jobs. This was the 100th straight month of job growth. Unemployment is at a low four percent. Good news!
Christians also know that we are amazingly blessed in this amazing country. And that leads to a factor we shouldn’t ignore: The media’s and liberal politicians’ constant refrain that something bad is about to happen. Because fear hurts us — hurts everyone, the poor in particular — when it’s not justified.
Take the Media With a Grain of Salt
For example: The latest jobs report showed that “the U.S. economy is roaring into 2019,” according to Axios. Yet Axios also says, “Though wages grew by 3.2%, or 1.3% after accounting for inflation, that is about half what it should be, said Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM.”
“There are warning signs that signal a new global economic crisis,” intones Britain’s Independent newspaper.“The US economy is strong” but there are major signs “it won’t last,” warns CNN. Then there’s CNN Money’s, “Recession Warning Lights Are Here”
And also “6 Signs We’re Closer to the Next Recession Than You Realize: Despite a strong U.S. economy and a low unemployment rate, trouble could be right around the corner.”
Some Truths, Convenient and Inconvenient
Economic growth isn’t permanent. Sometimes people lose jobs. Sometimes companies go through rough spots. Sometimes various pressures — from regulations, taxes, international trade practices, and a number of other things — keep our economy from thriving as we would like. No one likes these things, especially if you’re one of those affected by them. The private, public, and charitable sectors all need to work to help make hard-landings softer for people on the down-side of advantage.
But the breathless, worried, “sky is about to fall” drumbeat can be self-fulfilling. If you get people upset and frightened, their economic decisions reflect those fears. “We should delay the vacation … let’s not buy the new washing machine … we’ll hold off on getting Sally braces.” And then the economy begins to contract — and the warnings of gloom start becoming true.
It’s not just the media that want to worry us. Liberal Democrats have a vested interest in portraying things as bleak or at least not as good as they could be (they never are, but who’s going to say that?). From Elizabeth Warren to Cory Booker, they keep telling us that the “middle class” is suffering.
The Facts: Times Are Good!
Really? In fact, of the five income brackets economists use to measure income, the middle three are humming along nicely. Here are just a few facts that get ignored way too often:
- “The vast majority of Americans — 95% — now own a cellphone of some kind. The share of Americans that own smartphones is now 77%, up from just 35% in Pew Research Center’s first survey of smartphone ownership conducted in 2011.”
- “Middle-class income rose above $61,000 for the first time last year,” reported the U.S. Census Bureau in September of last year. In addition, “the national poverty rate declined as the benefits of the strong economy lifted the fortunes of more Americans.”
- Inflation is just under two percent annually. That’s down a full percentage point from July of last year.
- According to the White House Council of Economic Advisors, “prices for prescription drugs fell 0.6% during the 12 months 2018. This is the largest decline in prescription drug prices in almost half a century (46 years).
- According to the AAA, the average price of gas per gallon in the U.S. was $2.26 the week ending February 2, 2019. Adjusted for inflation, that’s about a dollar less than it was in 1979.
- A 25-inch screen TV, in inflation-adjusted dollars, would have cost you $2,750.00 in 1970. Today, you can get a 25-inch flat-screen TV for $140.00. And with technology so superior there’s no comparison with that 1970 beauty.
- The average car cost $7,574 in 1980. In inflation adjusted dollars, that’s just over $23,000 today. That’s about the same as today. But today’s cars are in every way better — much better — that the cars of that earlier era. Or any era, for that matter.
No and No
Is everything rosy? No. Will our economy stay strong forever? No.
But our economy is doing very well. Long-term problems — deficit spending, the national debt, an expanding federal government, fiscally unsound Social Security and Medicare programs — are real. But for ordinary Americans, now and in all likelihood for quite a while, times are good. Not the best or the worst of times, but very good.