The most underappreciated story of 2005

…. is our economy, which has been sailing along nicely, unless you listen to the Democrats in Washington. Rich Lowry explains:

The robust American economy is the great underappreciated story of 2005. Like the purloined letter in Edgar Allan Poe’s story, our superb economy is hidden in plain view, mostly ignored by a media that prefer to accentuate the negative and a Democratic Party that, for understandable partisan reasons, is loath to admit that anything could possibly be right in George Bush’s America.

The end of the year brought a barrage of good news that it will take Herculean determination to determinedly ignore.

MasterCard reported that holiday sales increased 8.7 percent over last year. Sales of electronics were up 11 percent, and home furnishings were up 15 percent. Purchases exceeding $1,000 increased by 13 percent. The Wall Street Journal noted that economic pessimists harp about median incomes declining, but ”judging by these holiday sales, somebody must have money.”

Overall, consumer confidence rose in December to its highest levels since before Hurricane Katrina battered the Gulf Coast. The price of a gallon of gasoline declined to $2.18, down from $2.26 in November and well below the high of more than $3 in September. Weekly jobless claims are back to their pre-Katrina levels, and workers were earning 3.2 percent more than in November 2004.

Then, there was all the news to ignore from the third quarter of ’05: 4.3 percent GDP growth; 215,000 new payroll jobs in November; 4.5 million payroll jobs added since May 2003; fixed investment up 8.6 percent; industrial production up 0.7 percent from October to November.

The unemployment rate is at a level that at one time would have been cause for universal celebration – just 5 percent – and according to Jeffrey M. Lacker president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond (Va.), employment continues to grow at a ”healthy pace.” All of this comes on top of low inflation and extraordinarily high productivity gains. Heritage Foundation economist Tim Kane calculates, putting all the key factors together, that economically, 2005 is one of the best five years out of the past 25.

Read the whole thing. (Hat tip: Decision ’08)

Despite all this, the public has consistently had a negative perception of the economy. This poll from the summer of ’05 is just one example of the negative view the American people have of the economy. Even this recent poll, which shows a 10 percent rise in his ratings on the economy, still leaves him in negative territory (45% were positive on the economy) on how the American people believe he’s handling it.

Wonder if this had anything to do with it?

(Cross-posted at Blogs For Bush)

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