We have the opportunity to get our country back on the right track with the 2014 mid-term elections. Just as how this was accomplished in 2010, we must make the public understand that the economy is not getting better.
When the news came out earlier this week that the consumer confidence index had risen to a more than four-year high, many Republicans and Tea Party members were dismayed. Every time somebody gets the impression that things are improving, our chances for taking things back in 2014 slip away ever so slightly.
But remember this: the November index numbers were measured in September.
And what was happening in September?
Everybody was expecting a Romney landslide, of course. People were beginning to feel good about America again. And with the prospect of lower taxes, more jobs, and a solution to the "fiscal cliff" crisis, consumers were getting ready to spend.
Now that we are recovering from the national hangover that was the 2012 election, we can expect the index to start pointing in the other direction. While this is bad news for our nation, it's the sort of bad news we need for a Tea Party and Republican resurgence in 2014.
We can also point to unattainable housing as a sign that things are getting worse, not better. From the Business Week article:
"Property values rose in the year ended September by the most since July 2010, according to data from S&P/Case-Shiller. The index of home prices in 20 cities climbed 3 percent from September 2011, after advancing 2 percent in the year to August."
Additionally, fuel prices are down. As we've explained elsewhere, fuel prices follow the price of oil, which is generally priced by demand -- that is, consumers' willingness (and ability) to buy. So, lower gas prices are actually a sign of a declining economy. Again, from Business Week:
"Fuel prices close to the lowest level since mid-July are offering respite to budget-conscious households. The average cost of a gallon of regular gasoline at the pump has fallen 10 percent in the past two months to reach $3.42 on Nov. 26, according to AAA, the nation’s biggest motoring organization."
Are things finally getting better? No. The consumer confidence index data is simply being presented with a healthy dose of media spin.