Why You Felt Good About Things Before You Listened to the Pundits

Figures from the Conference Board, which measures consumer confidence

There’s a new standard for judging the success of Pres. Obama’s initiatives: Every single last soul in America must be doing great before we can claim progress.

Don’t believe it? Can you count the number of times you’ve heard news reported this way?

Pundit: “Well yes, Freemont, unemployment continues to fall, month in and month out, but if you’re a person who is still looking for a job and can’t find one, then you’re not feeling any improvement.”


Let me correct that. Big, super-irrelevant duh.

Facts are facts, and numbers are numbers. Whether “you’re the person” for whom things aren’t getting better doesn’t change the fact that THINGS ARE GETTING BETTER.

This Republican and tea party tactic of dismissing Pres. Obama’s proven successes by noting the exceptions has gone mainstream.

Perhaps you’ve heard that, under the Affordable Care Act, the rate of the increase in healthcare costs, which was through the roof before Obamacare, has slowed. You know, just like the president predicted.

In fact, what you probably heard was something more along the lines of Jeffrey Toobin’s comments on a recent New Yorker “Political Scene” podcast.

This GOP/tea strategy is right up there with “disproving” climate change by throwing a snowball in the Senate

[Obama] didn’t say that it would cut the cost of healthcare, he said it would slow the increase in the cost…That appears to be happening, but for those people who write checks for the cost of their healthcare, it’s still very expensive.

Another big, super-irrelevant duh. Because the numbers are still the numbers, and the numbers are going down. Here’s how Forbes described it:

Healthcare cost growth refers to the rate at which the national spending is increasing. In 2013, this was 3.6 percent. That’s the lowest rate of increase since 1960 when the government started keeping track of these things

That’s not a typo where I left off the period because that wasn’t the end of the sentence. This was:

– but it’s still more than double the 1.5 percent rate of inflation that we saw in the broader US economy in 2013.


And here’s how U.S. News broke the story this month that unemployment continues to fall:

The unemployment rate, which reached 10 percent in 2009, has fallen to 5.5 percent. That’s a significant improvement and marks real progress in the recovery from the Great Recession.

And the very next sentence?

But it doesn’t mean that all’s back to normal in the job market.

Well of course not. Your wife’s nephew got an interview but somebody else got the job, so disregard that 5.5 percent figure. After all, if EVERYBODY doesn’t have a job, we might as well consider this recovery a non-starter.

Is it any wonder that most Americans are still worried, still pessimistic, and that many still oppose Obama?

We have to start calling out this GOP/tea strategy, which is right up there with “disproving” climate change by throwing a snowball in the Senate. Exceptions, as the saying goes, only prove the rule. Don’t let “I’m not a scientist but…” Republicans get away with making you doubt what the numbers show, and what you were already thinking:

Democrats are heading in the right direction.

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