The “r-word” was the headline in bright red 96 point type on
the cover of the NYT Week In Review last Sunday.
And it was canted so that the image of the
dollar signs sinking beneath the surface is unmistakable.
The content of Peter S. Goodman’s article – the facts the
story contains – is relatively bland, but the emotions that wrap around the
word “RECESSION” are so politically powerful that there was an immediate story
explosion. On Fox News Bill O’Reilly angrily accused the Times of “rooting for
a recession”, and Media Matters quickly shot back. You can see Bill’s
statement, and the left of center reaction to his reaction here.
This isn’t an economics blog, so we won’t join that
particular food fight other than to note that the New York Times isn’t a
leading indicator here – it is trailing public opinion. Back in October a
Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times survey showed that 65% of Americans expected a
recession next year. And 40% thought we
were already in one.
Clearly the economy is on everyone’s mind. In the Vanity
Fair article “The Economic Consequence of Mr. Bush” Nobel Laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz makes it clear that the economic problems we
face have been a long time coming and won’t be quickly fixed.
As storm clouds gather and gasoline prices continue to spike
smart candidates are already preparing to shift with the wind. At Horse Mouth
Greg Sargent notes
that many on the right are picking up and trumpeting a headline from the
Washington Times claiming, “The Democrats are the Party of the Rich.” When the
right begins to frame its story so that “being with the rich guys” is the
losing position, there are very dark times ahead.