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Monday, July 11, 2011

UK Papers view on US economy

Sometimes if you want something expressed clearly and free of group think, you seek outside sources.  US media tends to cover the US economy the same stale, tired way, using the same tired, stale phraseology- 'recovery', soft patch, rough patch, extended patch, etc...  Certainly left and right leaning media cover the economy differently, assigning blame to their 'foes' and the solutions offered are pretty drastic depending on whether the outlet is an Obama supporter or detractor. 

Ultimately though, the US media cover the current economic downfall the same way-  Rah-Rah! cheer when market goes up, shrug any bad news from employment or housing as unimportant, and never devote any time to really covering those on the 'battle lines', the millions of everyday people truly suffering, unless the media outlet wishes to use the suffering to help dramatize a greater political point.

So often if I want to understand US finance and economics in a more neutral context, I go to a better source-- British newspapers.  I'm not saying the British news media is better than the US..  The current Watergate-like scandal involving Rupert Murdoch's "News of the World" can attest to that.  But when it comes to covering the US economy, it expresses things as they are, not as they wish it to be.

Take this past Friday's jobs report.  The media still say 'recovery'.  I say 'recession'.  What does Ambrose Evans-Pritcherd of the Telegraph UK think:

"The calamitous US jobs data released last Friday leave no doubt that the US remains trapped in depression. Broad U6 unemployment rose from 15.8 to 16.2pc (the True unemployment rate) in June; the numbers in work fell by a quarter million to 153.4m; the average time without a job reached a fresh record of 39.8 weeks; hourly pay fell; hours worked fell; the employment/population ratio crashed to new lows of 58.2pc."

Show me one US newspaper or media outlet who would call the current US economy a depression!  Show me the American who writes that and I show you an unemployed writer.

OK, so how does the Independent, UK see Friday's jobs report? :

"With only 18,000 jobs created in June, the US economic recovery has gone badly wrong.  Once upon a time, the US economy was the envy of the world. It is no longer. Despite massive stimulus of both the monetary and the fiscal kind, it is struggling to break free from its post-financial crisis torpor. The level of economic activity today is barely higher than it was at the start of 2008... In reality, the US is wheezing, weighed down by past excesses. The weak labour market is but one example of this shortage of breath."

I'm so used to seeing cheery, optimistic words interjected, it just feels odd to have nothing to vent on...

We all want Real recovery.. Real Job growth.. Real home value stabilization.. Real Optimism that things are getting better even if gradually.  What we don't ever want is to be told is to look at the naked 'Emperor' and admire how magnificent his "new clothing is".

Just because some group of economists got together and declared 2yrs ago the recession over, does not make it so.  And just because Wall St is enjoying recovery thanks to the corrupt Bernanke flooding $ into the markets via QE 1 & 2, does it make a 'recovery' for the bottom 98%.

If the media is not on the people's side, who do the people really have to watch out for them?

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