This lack of paranoia or partisanship gives Phillips credibility when he looks at who benefits from the rosy numbers:

We might ponder as well who profits from a low-growth U.S. economy hidden under statistical camouflage. Might it be Washington politicians and affluent elites, anxious to mislead voters, coddle the financial markets, and tamp down expensive cost-of-living increases for wages and pensions?

We’re pretty sure the question is rhetorical.

Fortune-ately, we have Sloan

A Credit to Fortune for Allan Sloan’s column “A Gift from the Beltway,” which announces:

High-income folks like me don’t qualify for rebate checks. But we’re getting so much more.

Sloan explains:

Thanks to a relatively little noticed portion of the stimulus package, we’ll be able to refinance our house more cheaply than we otherwise could, or presumably sell it for more.

We like this piece because Sloan both illuminates important but obscure changes in mortgage rules, and candidly reveals his own position to us: we find out that he and his wife make enough money (more than $174,000) to benefit from these changes.

Not that self-interest leads Sloan to support the new rules:

The one thing I liked about the stimulus package was that the government had enough sense to not send money [an economic-stimulus tax rebate] to people like me. But then it turns around and hands me a housing subsidy. I’ll gratefully accept the gift. But that’s no way to run a country.

Ahead of its Time

Finally, a Credit to for breaking the big story that the Wall Street Journal’s top editor, Marcus Brauchli, is “resigning.”

It’s a great scoop for a newsweekly, showing Time can scrap with the dailies via its Web site.

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Elinore Longobardi is a Fellow and staff writer of The Audit, the business-press section of Columbia Journalism Review.