The Campaign Spot

Five Ways Obama’s Economic Stimulus Is Already Working

Time offers five reasons for economic optimism – among them, “The Government Is on the Case.”
While I don’t find Justin Fox’s list particularly reassuring – the surprise ending will do that — it did prompt some rethinking. Perhaps I, among others, have been too relentlessly negative in assessing the economy’s performance in the opening months of the Obama administration.
After further review, I have found five key signs of economic growth, all of which I attribute entirely, or almost entirely, to President Obama.

1. Gun sales. The FBI reports background checks on the sale of firearms jumped 23 percent nationwide last month compared to February 2008. That follows a 28 percent rise in January and a 24 percent increase in December.

2. Advertising revenues on Rush Limbaugh’s program. Rush Limbaugh’s audience is doubled and in January, his program had booked 80 percent of all 2008 revenue and “we’ll be over 2008 by the end of this month.”

3. Attendance at conservative political conventions. Turnout at CPAC was 9,000 this year, up from 7,000 last year, when the president and vice president and major presidential candidates were in attendance.
4. Ratings and advertising on CNBC: In the first two months of 2009, CNBC averaged 282,000 home viewers at any given time, up from 264,000 in the same period in 2008 and 233,000 in the same period in 2007. (CNBC says the Nielsen ratings undercounts its audience, as they do not measure out-of-home viewership on trading floors and offices.)

5. (ahem) Close to Home. “Circulation for the last issue of NR came in at a hair over 200,000. Our historic baseline for circulation is about 150,000, which is where it was at the beginning of 2007.”