I’m still trying to figure this one out. Check out the first two paragraphs from this Washington Times editorial.
After seven years of unprecedented strength, the U.S. economy is floundering as the mortgage crisis and gas prices force businesses, small and large, to slash jobs.
It is a given that President Bush presided over one of the strongest economic periods in history, with staggering job creation of 2.6 million jobs, record minority home ownership and a market flush with investment. But in just six months, the stock market has dipped below 11,000 for the first time in two years, nearly a half million jobs have been lost in the construction industry since last year – equal to the losses in all other sectors since December – and mortgage foreclosures are now at record highs.
Seven years of unprecedented strength. Really? We’ve never had such good times. Not the nineties? The fifties? The twenties? Really? Unprecedented.
Staggering job creation of 2.6 million jobs? Really? If 2.6 million is staggering, then what do you call President Clinton’s 23 million jobs?* Almost ten times as many, clearly. Hyper-staggering? And, um, about those losses of a half million in construction and another half million in other sectors. Isn’t that a million, just about half of a staggering 2.6 million?
Oh, and by the way, dear reader(s), the editorial, written specifically to address Senator Gramm’s “mental recession” comment, is entitled “Economic reality, not fantasy.”
Nope. Not kidding. You can’t make this shit up. Well, I mean, I can’t. The Washington Times clearly can.
What this brought to mind was the Dave Eggers book A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, (oddly subtitled A Memoir Based on a True Story, as if a memoir itself isn’t true, or supposed to be anyway.) I was, like a lot of people I imagine, intrigued by the sheer balls of titling one’s book that way. So I gave it a read. Eh, didn’t do much for me. Didn’t break my heart. Didn’t impress me as to Mr. Eggers being endowed with a staggering genius. But then neither did it amuse me enough to be willing take the title with its clearly intended irony. Was just, like I said, eh.
Oh, but also, please don’t think I’m constantly reading Washington Times editorials. More of a recent thing, clicking through interesting-looking links over at Real Clear Politics. I used to read Washington Post and New York Times editorials pretty religiously, years ago. Stopped after the devastating 2004 election. This year, this time around, I’m trying very deliberately to get more news from more diverse outlets, trying to avoid maybe the echo chamber I was in c. 2004. Won’t get fooled again.
* Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. See ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/suppl/empsit.ceseeb1.txt accessed 7/15/2008.