“We need someone to say things are better!” Is that all it takes?

Yesterday, I was interviewing a commercial developer for one of the real estate trade magazines that I write for. When discussing the terrible economy and the negative impact it has had on the commercial real estate industry, this developer sighed, hesitated and then said this: “All it’s going to take to turn this around is one economist to go on TV and say that things are getting better. That happens, and you’ll see the economy turn around.”

Really? Is that all it takes, for someone to go on TV and lie?

Let’s face it, things aren’t getting better. They’re getting worse. Just look at the sky-high unemployment numbers. Just look at the number of people who are losing their homes to foreclosure.

I run into people like the overly optimistic developer all the time, though. They tell me that much of the blame for the housing crisis or the recession rests with the media. Newspapers and TV news shows focused too unrelentingtly on the bad news surrounding the economy, these folks say. If only the members of the media would focus on the good things about the economy, the nation wouldn’t be in such a funk.

To me, this is nonsense. People know it’s tough. They know it when they see that they haven’t gotten a raise in years. They certainly know it when they wake up and don’t even have a low-paying job to go to. So don’t tell me that all we need is some positive spin from the news. Our nation is facing a real economic problem here. It will take real solutions to make things better.