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Public Won't Believe Lies About Recovery

August 04, 1991

I'll tell you why the public doesn't believe that the recession is over ("Economists, Public Part Ways Over End of Recession," July 9). Not only is it because they see little change in their purchasing power, but it's also because they've grown weary of all the government lies.

Since the early days of the Reagan Administration, economic indicators have been revised, be they reports or whatever, to suit the Administration. During the Ronald Reagan presidency, figures and formulations were routinely changed if they produced numbers that were not to the Administration's liking. Often it was said that such changes promoted "efficiency" and "greater accuracy" when, in fact, they obfuscated both.

The Bush Administration has carried on this disagreeable practice, and the public has long since caught on. We don't believe the numbers, we believe the bags of groceries we can bring home or the cost of gas we put into our cars or the interest we pay on our credit cards and earn on our checking and savings accounts.

No, the recession is not over. Now, if only the Administration would stop the lies and number juggling, the public might have a little more confidence in its economic pronouncements. Until then, I hope the economy gets worse, far worse, so Congress can muster the political will to soak the rich and soak them good.

JEFF SOFTLEY

Los Angeles

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