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Newsday's pathetic Economics

As everyone who lives on Long Island knows, Newsday is one of the worst written partisan shrills in existence. Their analysis is pathetic and poorly argued. Nevertheless, I am a Long Islander and I do occasionally suffer through the paper in order to get some news. Today was such a day and I wrote the following letter infuriated at their "reporting" the new economic statistics:

Dear Editor:

If Newsday insists on being a propaganda machine for the Kerry Campaign, they should drop their phony pretense to objective news coverage. As a graduate Economics student, I was appalled with Newsday’s coverage of the recent spat of economic statistics (“Good and Bad News on Jobs”). Newsday asserts that “The recent run of federal statistics have painted an uneven picture with modest growth in car sales, slumping consumer spending, rising inflation and oil prices, slumping stock prices, and a mounting federal deficit.” One would think from these numbers that this “uneven picture” meant the world was collapsing.

Of course, none of this is remotely true. The underlying numbers support a continuing robust economy. The index of manufacturing activity rose for the fourteenth consecutive month. Consumer confidence is high. The retail market is strong and the housing market continues to grow. Nor is Newsday’s coverage of the employment figures and budget deficit fair. Unemployment is at 5.5%, down from 6.3% at the end of the last recession. In fact, unemployment is exactly where it was when Bill Clinton was running for his second term. The budget deficit is projected to fall to $331 billion next year and then to $229 billion by 2009, bringing it to a manageable level. For a country that experienced a recession, a massive terrorist attack, two wars, and corporate scandals it is remarkable that our economy has held up so strong. It is unfortunate that Newsday fails to mention any of this.

Matt Festa
Mineola, NY