Friday, November 07, 2003

Leave it to CNN to put a negative spin on the economic recovery. I caught a some of Lou Dobbs's show last night, where he led off a piece on the economy with the following statement:

"A new report today shows productivity in this country surged to a 10-year high. That's, of course, great news for businesses and the economy. But that increase in productivity is being carried on the backs of the already-overworked average American. And all of this comes while CEO paychecks are, yes, at an all-time high."

Is he serious? Just who's backs does he expect a recovery in the US economy to be carried on, French workers? It seems the focus of criticism of the economic recovery has shifted from "Yes, but where are the jobs?" to "Sure people are working, but they're working too hard!" I'm sure those who are still unemployed would gladly accept a longer work week or fewer vacation days in exchange for their current position. As far as the CEO salaries are concerned, (notice the obnoxious "yes" pause in the quote) of course CEO's salaries are at an all time high. In a year, they'll be higher, and a year from that they'll be even higher; that's how capitalism is supposed to work. Perhaps Dobbs meant that in comparison to other workers, and taking into account inflation and the current state on the economy, CEO salaries are at an all time high. The fact that this statement went unqualified throughout this report leads me to believe that all those evil CEOs probably aren't being compensated as disproportionately as Dobbs suggests. If he's got the facts, why not lay them out there?

How about this little gem from Kitty Pilgrim later in the piece: "Even with the economy growing, companies are still shedding jobs, 2.5 million jobs in the last 2.5 years."

Has the economy been recovering over the last 2.5 years? I seem to have missed that one. Lumping job losses over the last 2.5 years in with a recovery that is a few months old at best is an obvious distortion. Again, if there have been significant job losses during this months old recovery, why not give us the facts? The reason is likely because the real numbers are a whole lot less alarming than "2.5 million jobs."

Dobbs and Pilgrim wrap the piece up with this exchange: "PILGRIM: Another survey by that same group found 63 percent of workers admit to extremely high levels of stress. That's up 15 percent in just the last six months -- Lou. DOBBS: And that's why everyone should be extraordinarily careful when they get excited about these high productivity numbers, as we emerge from recession to recovery."

We'll, at least he admits this is a recovery.


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