How's this for some perverse, twisted irony? On Tuesday, voters cited worry about the economy as their primary concern. Throw away the conflicting ideologies battling for supremacy: The simplest explanation for yesterday's results is that incumbent parties always suffer when the economy is down.
But on Wednesday, a batch of new economic indicators offered more scope for optimism than we've seen all year.
- Reports from car manufacturers indicate that October was the best month for auto sales since August 2009 -- when sales were goosed by the Cash for Clunkers program. If you skip Cash for Clunkers, it's the best performance in more than two years.
- Factory orders rose 2.1 percent in October, the sharpest rise since January
- Service companies expanded at the fastest rate in three months.
- ADP Employer Services, the largest private sector payroll processor in the U.S., reported that private companies added 43,000 new jobs in October, more than double what economists had been expecting.
Throw into the mix the Federal Reserve's announcement that, in a long overdue attempt to stimulate the economy, it will buy $600 billion worth of U.S. Treasuries over the next year, and maybe, just maybe, we're seeing the beginnings of a sustained, robust recovery.
Or maybe not. But it would be funny, in a soul-destroying, joy-crushing kind of way, if the U.S. economy finally started to get off the sickbed just when voters ruthlessly punished Democrats for failing to revive the patient.