The national jobs report last week was strong and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above the psychological barrier of 11,000 on Monday for the first time since 2008, together fueling hopes that the economic recovery is gaining steam. But there has been bleak news, too: Of America's 15 million unemployed, an unprecedented 44 percent have been jobless for more than 6 months, and government programs are doing little to slow the pace of home foreclosures. How much faith should Americans have that the economy is really on the mend? (Watch a Fox Business report about the economic recovery)
Get ready for an economic boom: "The long-term decline of the U.S. economy has been greatly exaggerated," says Daniel Gross in Slate. With millions still unemployed, many Americans are still too shaken to cheer up, but the Dow is up 70 percent in the past year, auto sales are up 16 percent since 2009, and the economy is finally adding jobs. "America is coming back stronger, better, and faster than nearly anyone expected."
"You're awesome, America!"
There's still reason to be scared: It's possible the worst is over, says Kevin Drum in Mother Jones. But it's also possible the optimists are getting ahead of themselves. Consumers still owe way too much money, housing prices still have farther to fall, and unemployment still looks "terrible." And with pressure building to reduce the deficit, you can forget about any further stimulus to keep the recovery from sputtering out.
"So how's the economy doing, anyway?"
The recovery is real — even with all Obama's meddling: Conservatives are rightly warning of the long-term threats of "the Obamanomics big-government assault," says Larry Kudlow in National Review, but they shouldn't "trash" the budding recovery in an effort to "discredit" Obama's efforts to stimulate the economy. The statistics say what once looked like a modest recovery could become a "full-fledged, V-shaped, recovery boom between now and year-end."
"A v-shaped boom is coming"
Rising oil prices could ruin everything: Maybe the optimists are right, says Matthew Yglesias in Think Progress, but the threat of rising oil prices makes it hard to have faith. Oil demand in the developing world has "only grown since 2008," so any "real economic recovery in the rich countries is going to lead to renewed price spikes that we’re totally unprepared to deal with."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
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- Pope Francis' American problem
- Vox, derp, and the intellectual stagnation of the left
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