One of the Worst-Timed Op-Eds Ever, By One of John McCain’s Economic Advisers

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Both Kevin and I have noted the absurd Washington Post essay by Donald Luskin titled “A NATION OF EXAGGERATORS: Quit Doling Out That Bad-Economy Line.” It was published on Sunday morning, 12 to 24 hours before news broke that the American economy is basically in shambles, making it one of the most poorly timed pieces of punditry ever.

But what Kevin and I both missed is that Luskin advises John McCain on the economy! He admits it halfway through the piece, saying, “Full disclosure: I’m an adviser to John McCain’s campaign.”

Get a load of the wisdom Luskin is providing McCain. This is from the piece:

Things today just aren’t that bad. Sure, there are trouble spots in the economy, as the government takeover of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and jitters about Wall Street firm Lehman Brothers, amply demonstrate. And unemployment figures are up a bit, too. None of this, however, is cause for depression — or exaggerated Depression comparisons.

Luskin follows this with a number of arguments (bolstered by statistics, of course) that would cause anyone with a rudimentary grasp of the American economy to spit out their coffee. Like this one:

A housing “slump,” a housing “crisis”? A “severe” price decline? According to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors, the median price of an existing home is up 8.5 percent from the low of last February. And according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median price of a new home is up 1.3 percent from the low of last December. Home prices may not be at all-time highs — and there are pockets of continuing decline in some urban areas — but overall they’ve clearly stopped going down and have started to recover. So why keep proclaiming a “crisis” after it’s over?

Sure, yeah, the housing crisis (sorry, “crisis”) is over. Over! All those investment banks that are tanking because of their investments in mortgage-backed securities… well, shoot, I guess Donald Luskin will have a hard time explaining them. But frankly, Luskin is more interested in telling you to shut your worrying pie-hole. He writes:

McCain campaign adviser and former U.S. senator Phil Gramm was right in July when he said that our current state “is a mental recession.” Maybe he was out of line when he added that the United States has become “a nation of whiners.” But when it comes to the economy, we have surely become a nation of exaggerators.

Got that? Donald Luskin doesn’t want to hear one word about gas prices, you underinsured, economically-insecure middle class putz! The economy is wonderful and unicorns are prancing with anthropomorphized rainbows among showers of glitter in the clouds.

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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