I really liked the title of this piece found in the Washington Post this morning, so, I'm leaving it. Possibly, it might resonate with those that are supportive (or following like blind sheep) of the president and the republican controled congress, who are making enough money that the cost of gas doesn't make them bat an eye, or the cost of food (and most of the time fresh food looks and smells so awful that it isn't worth a tenth of what the stores are charging, that includes meat and fish) doesn't give them a second thought. However, the end of this article/analysis is where I have a problem, as you will see further down. But, I still like the title.
Economic Worries Aren't Resonating on Hill.
Inflation and interest rates are rising, stock values have plunged, a tank of gas induces sticker shock, and for nearly a year, wages have failed to keep up with the cost of living.
Yet in Washington, the political class has been consumed with the death of a brain-damaged woman in Florida, the ethics of the House majority leader, and the fate of the Senate filibuster.
Few economists would say the nation is at risk of slipping back into recession, but most believe the United States is back in a "soft patch." Inflation jumped 0.6 percent in March, the Labor Department said yesterday, the biggest price surge in five months. The 115-point plunge that followed the inflation announcement brought the Dow Jones Industrial Average to its lowest level of the year, 842 points below the height it reached in late December, when Wall Street rallied after Bush's reelection. An average gallon of unleaded gasoline cost $2.22 yesterday, 27 cents higher than election week.
Perhaps most important, wages are not keeping up with prices. Adjusted for inflation, average weekly earnings fell by 0.3 percent from February to March, the Labor Department reported yesterday. Inflation-adjusted hourly wages last month were a half-percent lower than a year ago. Real weekly earnings have not risen in four years.
Now, please, I realize I am no economist, but a "soft patch"? Don't you think that's glossing over the beginings of a problem, real signs of a serious situation?
So, what has Congress given us working slobs people? A bankruptcy bill that favors banks, credit card companies and big business in general; giving the courts and big business the go ahead to squeeze blood from a turnip, so to speak.
Yet the only economic bills signed into law this year have tilted against the little guy: Legislation that restricts class-action lawsuits, and a major rewrite of the nation's bankruptcy laws, signed yesterday, that will make it harder for debt-ridden Americans to wipe out their obligations.
The Washington area has been insulated from some of the current economic problems. Gasoline prices here have risen as rapidly as elsewhere, but the area has a booming real estate market and strong job growth.
What amazes me is that the authors of this piece surmise that part of the disconnect between congress and the people is due to the media. Ummm, okay. It seems to me that journalists, under control of their bosses, the upper echelon (predominately republican supporters), have purposely glossed over the issues that actually may mean something to the average person.
One reason may be the media's preoccupation with other news: the deaths of Pope John Paul II and Terri Schiavo, and debates about the future of Social Security and the federal judiciary.
Another may be the degree to which partisanship rather than the actual state of the economy shapes attitudes toward Bush's performance. Republican pollster Bill McInturff said that attitudes about Bush are generally fixed -- with Republicans overwhelmingly supportive and Democrats overwhelmingly opposed -- and affected primarily by terrorism and security. Therefore economic changes have less impact on this administration than past administrations.
There is another option, that those around Bush and the GOP have insulated themselves so well, with a nice heavy coating of teflon(r) so this won't stick? SOP for the GOP is to blame the dems and the media, when people don't like a particular issue. SOP for the GOP has been to lie, outright and by convolution, to the American people.
For instance, the Bankruptcy bill, which will not help the working class that really needs the help to begin with. The GOP, and in this case big business, packaged their rhetoric with the specific intent of getting those that will be hurt by this legislation to support this legislation.
For many of us, this is a big, fat, giant DUH! But, for Joe Schmo, loyal Bush supporter down the road, he may be only just realizing this. The concept that this administration and, starting with (at least) the last session of, Congress behave in a way that he doesn't matter, may be just an inkling in his eye. So, maybe, just maybe, instead of glossing over why congress, the GOP, and this administration in general, aren't paying attention to the issues that most affect the working class person (partisanship aside), saying it's the media, let's look at who owns the media, who controls the media, who controls big businesses, and what their agenda truly is.