I watch network news every evening–and, if I didn’t know better, I’d think the economic picture was bleak, with the majority of American families on the brink of slipping into the abyss of poverty.

Columnist Donald Lambro noticed something similar during the arguments on Capitol Hill about Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA):

“House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California made the most pernicious attack. She claims ending trade tariffs in Central America will help decimate U.S. manufacturing.

“Mrs. Pelosi’s timing couldn’t have been worse — for her — because the day she made her charges, the Federal Reserve Board put out its business climate survey that said U.S. manufacturing is getting stronger.

“The Fed reported most of its 12 regional districts showed ’moderate to solid expansions in manufacturing activity and expectations for future factory activity were generally upbeat,? helping it soar out of a small soft patch it hit last spring.

“The aircraft and high-tech manufacturing industries were singled out as especially strong in San Francisco and Boston. Oil refineries were doing quite well in Atlanta and Dallas because of the increased need for energy. Fueled by the building boom, manufacturers of key construction materials, including industrial equipment and cement, were particularly busy.

“While Mrs. Pelosi made her charges on the House floor, the U.S. Commerce Department reported a strong manufacturing surge in June. Not only were American manufacturers producing more in response to increasing customers orders, they were selling more abroad — to the tune of $1.15 trillion a year.

“In addition, new orders for big-ticket goods such as machinery, computers and appliances shot up by 1.4 percent, and Commerce revised its previous estimate for durable goods orders in May to show a 6.4 percent increase, helped by a lengthening list of new aircraft orders.

“But how can Mrs. Pelosi, who has such information available to her almost daily, be so far off in her characterization of manufacturing? Was she listening to CNN’s Lou Dobbs, who keeps telling his viewers America doesn’t make much anymore?

“The answer, unfortunately, is all about the politics of pessimism and denial, an illness that has long afflicted Mrs. Pelosi’s party — to its detriment.”

Fortunately, the public doesn’t need Nancy Pelosi or Al Franken to tell them whether or not they have a job.