The Commerce Department reported today that the economy grew at a 7.2 percent annual rate in the third quarter. It was the strongest pace since the first quarter of 1984; it also beat analysts’ estimates for a 6 percent growth rate.
Meanwhile, the Labor Department reported that new jobless claims last week declined by 5,000 to 386,000, signaling a slowdown in layoffs. Also, the stock market has been climbing since mid-March. For a thoughtful analysis of this boom or boomlet in the conomy (with some good links included), see Daniel Gross.
This is bad news for the pessimistic Left (that may be redundant, aren’t all Lefties pessimistic?), according to William Safire. That explains why the President was not asked even one question about the state of the economy in his press conference a few days ago. They all dwelled on Iraq, which now is the pessimists last hope. If Iraq goes South, then they have a chance in the elections of 2004; if it doesn’t, they don’t. Please note their annoying tendency to criticize the administration in the (seeming) hope that first the economy and now foreign policy fall into an unmitigated disaster. This is not only wrong of them, it is also not helpful to them electorally, and it is most certainly not helpful for the political health of the country. They are--I keep repeating because I believe it to be a massive fact--putting themselves in a political cul d’sac out of which they will be unbale to climb in time for the election. They now have no alternative but to claim the most egregious things about Bush: that he is a liar and a cheat, and one not to be trusted, etc. Instead of criticising Bush’s policies and offering their own solutions (which they are not) they are in the mode of questioning Bush’s purposes and character; they argue that Bush should not be trusted. Bad move on their part. They will pay for this at the polls next year.