Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Some Things You Just Can’t Spin: Business Week reports that “The Bush Administration has gone into public-relations overdrive to talk up the good economic news.” I’m always happy to hear about organizations going into public relations overdrive, but I can’t help thinking that this is one of those campaigns that’s based on the question “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?” And old jokes notwithstanding, most people are likely to believe their own experience than what a politician is trying to tell them.

And what is that experience? Median household income peaked in 1999 and has fallen every year since and median income for non-elderly households is down by about 5 percent, or a little more than $2,500 over the last four years. Also, since 2000, 5.4 million more people—including 1.4 million more children—have fallen below the poverty line. At the same time, family debt has risen by more than 35 percent over the past four years; people are being asked to pay a higher portion of their healthcare costs; and many companies have terminated or plan to terminate their pension plans. In other words, most ordinary Americans have less money coming in, more money going out, and see a long-term future that is far less secure than it was.

A CBS News poll conducted in early January found that just 20 percent of Americans think the economy is improving, while 37 percent believe it is worsening and 43 percent say it is unchanged. The fact is, they’re probably all right. For the top 20 percent of earners, things have gotten better (as of 2004, the top 20 percent held more than 50 percent of all income). For those in the middle, not much has changed. But for the bottom third, things have been getting steadily worse. And no amount of PR is going to change that.


  • At 12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Dead on, buddy!


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