Chuck Todd should have challenged Paul Ryan’s response
Chuck Todd interviewed Chairman of the House Budget Committee and 2012 vice presidential candidate Congressman Paul Ryan on Meet the Press. He played some comments made by Paul Ryan right after losing the 2012 election about the President and the economy.
“It’s true that President Obama won reelection,” Paul Ryan said. “And I congratulate him on his victory. But on January 20th he will face a stagnant economy and a fiscal mess.”
Chuck Todd then showed where the economy was in 2012 and where it is today. “Now I’ve got a little graphic here,” Chuck Todd said. “December 12 unemployment rate 7.9%, stagnant GDP, Dow sitting at barely 13,000. Look where we are two years later. Unemployment at 5.6%, GDP 2.6% not as much as some people would like, the Dow up 5,000 points. Is that the definition of an economic policy that has not been working?”
Paul Ryan put his blinders on and answered the question with the standard GOP talking points. “We are under 3%,” Paul Ryan said. “We have tens of millions of people who are not working or looking for work. They are not even counted in that unemployment statistics. We have 45 million people living in poverty. We have middle income wages that have been stagnant. So yeah, that is not economic success. Are we better than where we were before? Oh yeah. But we have a long ways — look the big beef I have with the President’s State of the Union … is he gave us a lot of happy talk about the economy as if it was a mission accomplished speech. It is not mission accomplished. We have a long ways to go. People are hurting. And we have got to get back to work to fix this.”
As usual, Chuck Todd did not challenge Paul Ryan’s response. This is the reason Americans remain confused. The numbers look good. Paul Ryan reinterpreted what they really mean. His acknowledged reinterpretation becomes the last word to many — ‘The economy still stinks.’
The President was not taking a victory lap nor was he claiming ,mission accomplished.’ Quite the contrary. He acknowledged a very good economy in the aggregate that was not trickling down. The President presented his desire to migrate from tickle-down economics to middle-class economics.
Paul Ryan was disingenuous when talked about people not counted in the unemployment rate. He should be well aware that the major reasons for the fall in the employment participating rate are retiring and aging baby boomers. He should recall that Republicans refused to support increases in the minimum wage which would have moved many out of poverty. While Chuck Todd used a 2.6% figure for the GDP, just the quarter before it was at 5%. So the average of the two quarters is much higher than the static 2.6%.
It is incumbent that we challenge the talking points. Chuck Todd and his ilk won’t. We must.