Peter Morici may be an effective "pitch man" for office equipment company Kyocera in their TV commercials, but as a world-respected economist? Not so much. Mr. Morici is the type of economist who has accurately predicted nine of the last two recessions.
As to his recent commentary ("Another economic crisis brewing," Nov. 18), his loose language and use of facts as evidence to bolster his calamitous prediction are disingenuous at best. Here are some examples: First, he states that "middle class consumers are fleeing to dollar stores (from Walmart) to stretch shrinking pay checks." How silly to suggest that President Barack Obama caused this phenomenon despite no evidence that this is, in fact, occurring, which is beside the fact that dollar stores profitability predated Mr. Obama's election. Next, he talks of 7.8 million jobs created under President Obama and compares that number unfavorably to the performance under Ronald Reagan in a like time period of his term. Mr. Morici cites as fact that under President Reagan 12 million jobs were created during a like time period.
Here are the facts: There was about 7.5 million new jobs created under Mr. Reagan over a like period in his term. The 12 million number is the amount added during Mr. Reagan's entire 8-year term. Additionally, when President Obama entered office, the unemployment rate was 7.9 percent. Now, it is 7.2 percent. When Mr. Reagan entered office, the unemployment rate was 7.5 percent, and as of November 1985, it dropped to 7.2 percent. These are statistics form the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Hardly an unfavorable comparison when the facts are applied. Mr. Morici is entitled to his own opinions, but not his own facts.
Then there are these words offered by Mr. Morici: "dolling out Medicaid and health insurance subsidies to families earning $100,000." This conflating of the two is an attempt to indicate families earning $100,000 qualify for Medicaid. Not true. Just silly use of language at best, an irresponsible dog whistle at worst.
There is far too much such silliness — from contending the success under President Bill Clinton was due to Mr. Reagan, to conflating Dodd-Frank laws with causing the illegal tactics of JPMorgan Chase in it's London Whale trading debacle to claiming the Fed is printing money. This is simply not true. The Federal Reserve is using fees paid them by financial institutions all over the world to buy U.S. bonds.
I could go on and on about Mr. Morici's made-up stuff and frankly silly statements, but at the least the fabled institutions of The Sun and its readers deserve better.
Mel Mintz, Pikesville-
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