Revised data indicate that the economy grew at a 4.1% rate in the fourth quarter, making the last two quarters of 2003 the strongest back-to-back quarters since 1984. Nevertheless, consumer sentiment plunged in January. I don’t know how to account for that fact, other than by the relentless pessimism of the Democratic candidates, as reflected in daily news coverage. In 2000, Democrats accused George Bush of “talking the economy down” when he warned against a likely downturn which was, we now know, already in progress. This year, the Democrats might actually succeed, to some degree, in the feat they accused Bush of perpetrating four years ago.
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