GETTING POLITICIANS TO SPEAK ECONOMESE
posted by Michael Chihak
Economics being the inexact science that it is, plenty of people play fast and loose with the statistics and the rhetoric. Those plenty of people also go by another name -- politicians.
In a presidential election year, this means we are hearing lots of economics talk from the presidential candidates, who are espousing opposite points of view. About all they agree on is that the economy isn't as strong as it could be.
Are they hitting the right points? Does either have a good economic plan? Is even the best economic plan by one person -- even the president -- enough to make the kind of change needed?
The truth is that the economy is changing before our eyes. The ups and downs we all are experiencing are part of the change. Yet we -- led by our politicians -- want to think it's under some control.
It is under some control -- the control of the market.
The market decides what gasoline should cost, not the president.
The market decides if there's enough capital for business expansion, not the Congress.
The market decides if productivity is high enough, and if it is, people lose jobs or don't get hired. If it isn't, the job market loosens. It's not up to the governor and Legislature.
The market decides if a house is priced right -- no magical formula but an ebb and flow based on other sales, cash availability, emotional factors such as "motivated seller," to quote the real estate ads. Local elected officials are no more than observers of the process like the rest of us.
The president and the people running for other offices high and low don't make these decisions.
They sure act as if they do.
On Friday's Arizona Week, we plan to talk with economists about the state's July unemployment rate, due out Thursday, and the larger issues of how politicians communicate their economic plans, actions and whether they make much difference.
And, what can politicians do about the economy?