Is there any excuse for McCain's gaffe about the economy's strength?

Commentary about business and finance.
Sept. 17 2008 11:51 AM

"The Fundamentals of Our Economy Are Strong"

Is there any excuse for McCain's gaffe?

Read more about Wall Street's ongoing crisis.

(Continued from Page 1)

When industrial production decreases, the economy may not be fundamentally sound.

When the nation's three major automakers, some of the largest remaining manufacturing entities, report sales declines of more than 20 percent and beg the taxpayers for loans, the economy may not be fundamentally sound.

The litany of bad news has to be weighed against good news, of course.


When gross domestic product grows at a 3.3 percent annual rate despite weathering a series of shocks, the economy may be fundamentally sound.

When inflation shows signs of moderating and the prices of important commodities return to more reasonable levels, the economy may be fundamentally sound.

When exports rise 20 percent from year-ago levels, the economy may be fundamentally sound.

When $3.5 trillion is parked in money market mutual funds and corporations have vast piles of cash sitting on their balance sheets, it's an indication that money remains available for investment and consumption, and that the economy may be fundamentally sound.

On the whole, however, a reasonable observer would have to conclude that, on balance, the fundamentals of the U.S. economy are less than sound. And even John McCain has recognized his mistake. After a day of withering criticism, he abandoned his previous position. Now he's calling the situation "a total crisis."

With research assistance from Slate interns Sophie Gilbert and Abby Callard.



The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10


Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.