Watch Fox gush over Biden’s economy

News that the U.S. economy grew at a brisk 3.3% annual pace since October wasn't just good: It was great in a lot of ways.

On average, the economy grew a robust 2.5% in 2023—a year in which analysts practically tried to speak a recession into reality. No such luck. In fact, from the fourth quarter of 2022 to the fourth quarter of 2023, the economy grew 3.1%.

The combination of increasing consumption, low unemployment, and falling inflation even had a Fox Business reporter gushing over President Joe Biden's economy.

"It's a sweet spot," remarked Fox Business' Lauren Simonetti, calling consumption "formidable" over the holidays. "We're seeing an economy that is proving resilient—growing as inflation is moderating. That's why I'm calling this the sweet spot, right? Enough growth to cool inflation."

Thank you Dark Brandon!

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 25, 2024

The New York Times' Paul Krugman likewise dubbed it the "Goldilocks economy," neither too hot nor too cold. And Krugman predicts the country's inflationary woes are now over.

In other words, it continues to look as though the Biden administration is overseeing a "soft landing" for the economy—one that supposedly couldn't be achieved.

Indeed, the University of Michigan's survey of consumer sentiment surged to a reading of 78.8 in January, its highest level since July 2021 and a 21.4% increase from a year ago, according to CNBC. A big driver of that increase stems from consumers’ agreement with Krugman that inflation "has turned the corner," as survey director Joanne Hsu put it.

All of this good news is going to drive an already seething Donald Trump absolutely mad—particularly Fox Business analysts swooning over Biden's economy. The same Fox analyst also promised to scour the report "to see if there are signs that maybe the economy doesn't feel as, or isn't as resilient as it might seem."

Shorter Fox-speak: Stay tuned, Trump. We'll invent bad news one way or another!

For anyone who hasn't noticed, Trump is already getting increasingly erratic on his quest to fabricate bad news for Biden:

  • He's livid over his Republican rival Nikki Haley refusing to drop out of the GOP primary after New Hampshire.

  • He’s strong-arming the Republican National Committee into declaring him the nominee after a grand total of two state contests.

  • He's asking Senate Republicans to torpedo a potential border deal with the White House so he can spend the rest of year fear-mongering over a supposed "invasion" of immigrants spearheaded by Biden.

  • He's pushing House Republicans to impeach Biden so he can rail about Biden's supposed corruption.

  • He's rooting for an economic "crash," hopefully sometime very soon.

  • He's promising "bedlam" in the streets of America if he loses the election (a chaos candidate promising chaos if The People vote against chaos).

  • And he's agitating for full immunity from absolutely any action—including murder—he takes as president.

It's January, folks, and Trump is already coming off the rails despite the fact that he's basically cruising to the Republican nomination.

It's a palpable show of desperation sprung from a place of weakness. Trump knows New Hampshire and Iowa both exposed serious cracks in his general election voting coalition. The turnout and makeup of the electorate in both states suggests he isn't expanding the universe of Republican voters. He's simply culling the party down to a smaller, harder-right faction of the electorate.

In short, Trump's not adding, he's subtracting. And if he's going to ride that smaller slice of the electorate to victory, he's going to need to trash the country in every way possible in order to depress turnout for Biden.

That’s all fine by Trump because the main impetus of his every move is the sheer terror of spending his last living years in a jail cell. If he has to single-handedly unravel the country on his quest for freedom, so be it.

Campaign Action

When good news about the economy triggers a bad news media vibe

The media spent the bulk of last year assuring Americans a recession was imminent. But not only has that much-ballyhooed recession failed to materialize, news also broke this week that the U.S. economy grew 5.2% in the third quarter—the fastest pace of growth in almost two years.

Good news! The notably robust growth, an upward revision from a previous government estimate of 4.9%, looks pretty sick (“cool” in kid slang) in this U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis bar graph comparing quarterly reports over the last year.

But wait, it gets better! The White House touted even more good news on Thursday:

  • Annual inflation fell to its lowest level in more than two-and-a-half years.

  • Monthly inflation was zero (zip, nada, nothing).

  • Gas prices have fallen by $1.77 since they peaked after Russia invaded Ukraine in early 2022.

  • Prices for eggs and milk are down over the past year.

To put a finer point on inflation easing: Personal consumption expenditures fell to 3% year over year in October—the lowest PCE inflation rate since March 2021. In graph form, it looks like inflation ascended a mighty hilltop over the past two years, peaking last summer, and nearly returning to the flatlands  in October.

More good news on the economy today: Annual inflation fell to its lowest level since March 2021 and monthly inflation was zero. President Biden will not stop fighting to lower costs for hardworking families.

— Jeff Zients (@WHCOS) November 30, 2023

Don't worry, though, the dogged media is determined to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, come hell or high water.

Following news that consumer spending rose again in October, University of Michigan economics professor Justin Wolfers posed a challenge to reporters and analysts.

"There's been about a million think pieces asking 'why are people so miserable about the economy,'" Wolfers tweeted Thursday, "but I'm yet to see one grapple with the fact that folks are spending as if they're actually pretty optimistic about their economic futures."

There's been about a million think pieces asking "why are people so miserable about the economy," but I'm yet to see one grapple with the fact that folks are spending as if they're actually pretty optimistic about their economic futures.

— Justin Wolfers (@JustinWolfers) November 30, 2023

Turns out Wolfers was a day too late. CNBC had already met the challenge with a piece titled "Americans are 'doom spending' — here's why that's a problem.”

Hear that? Dooooooooooom spending! It's over, folks—pull up the covers, close your eyes, and retreat back to more comforting times, like when you were wiping down all your groceries to ensure they were plague-free.

The fanciful phrase "doom spending" appears to have been dreamed up by the credit monitoring service Credit Karma, and then mass distributed by CNBC:

Nearly all Americans, 96%, are concerned about the current state of the economy, according to a recent report by Intuit Credit Karma.

Still, more than a quarter are “doom spending,” or spending money despite economic and geopolitical concerns, the report found. ...

“Much like doom scrolling, we’re seeing people mindlessly shop to soothe concerns about the economy and foreign affairs, which could take a toll on their financial wellbeing,” Courtney Alev, Credit Karma’s consumer financial advocate, told CNBC.

Sorry, Wolfers—asked and answered. People are apparently so miserable, they are raining down money on the economy. It's dreadful stuff.

Not to be outdone, the Gray Lady's flagship podcast, ”The Daily,” dropped a 22-minute episode Thursday titled "The Bad Vibes Around a Good Economy." Sure, we may have escaped the long-promised recession on the policy side, but the whole economic vibe is just a downer right now, folks. Case in point: increased spending.

Thank goodness the media is here to tell us why we can’t have nice things—just in time for the holidays.

Campaign Action

There has been a ton of coverage in recent weeks over a streak of poor 2024 polling for Democrats and Target Smart’s Tom Bonier joins us to help us separate the wheat from the chaff. We talk about what to take from these polls and how to balance them against the much more positive election results we’ve seen this year. We also discuss how early voting data continues to evolve and how Sen. Sherrod Brown’s campaign will use Ohio’s recent abortion and marijuana referendums to find new persuadable voters next year.