July 06, 2004

But Mr. Bush has already presided over a bust. For the first time since 1932, employment is lower in the summer of a presidential election year than it was on the previous Inauguration Day.

Yes, the LNS wanted Wes Clark (D-NATO), BUT Sen. John
F. Kerry has chosen Sen. John Edwards (D-North
Carolina), the son of a mill worker, who built his fame
and fortune as a trial lawyer in pursuit of economic
justice for the vicitms of big corporations, to pursue
the prosecution of the Bush cabal for its criminal
negligence on the central issues of NATIONAL SECURITY,
ECONOMIC SECURITY and ENVIRONMENTAL SECURITY. The
Kerry-Edwards ticket, composed of a highly decorated war hero and a highly successful champion of the downtrodden, has established itself as the anti-dote to the Bush abomination on the three C's already in play, CREDIBILITY, COMPETENCE and now CHARACTER, soon to be followed by a fourth C: CORRUPTION (i.e. Halliburton, Enron, the phoney
"California energy crisis," etc. No one could work the
court of public opinion better than Edwards, IF he
goes for the jugular...

Paul Krugman, New York Times: But Mr. Bush has already presided over a bust. For the first time since 1932, employment is lower in the summer of a presidential election year than it was on the previous Inauguration Day. Americans badly need a boom to make up the lost ground. And we're not getting it When March's numbers came in much better than
expected, I cautioned readers not to make too much of
one good month. Similarly, we shouldn't make too much
of June's disappointment. The question is whether,
taking a longer perspective, the economy is performing
well. And the answer is no.
If you want a single number that tells the story, it's the percentage of adults who have jobs. When Mr. Bush took office, that number stood at 64.4. By last August it had fallen to 62.2 percent. In June, the number was 62.3. That is, during Mr. Bush's first 30 months, the job situation deteriorated drastically. Last summer it stabilized, and since then it may have improved slightly. But jobs are still very scarce, with little relief in sight.

Restore Fiscal Responsibility to the White House, Show
Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/06/opinion/06KRUG.html


July 6, 2004
OP-ED COLUMNIST
Bye-Bye, Bush Boom
By PAUL KRUGMAN

When does optimism the Bush campaign's favorite word
these days become an inability to face facts? On
Friday, President Bush insisted that a seriously
disappointing jobs report, which fell far short of the
pre-announcement hype, was good news: "We're
witnessing steady growth, steady growth. And that's
important. We don't need boom-or-bust-type growth."

But Mr. Bush has already presided over a bust. For the
first time since 1932, employment is lower in the
summer of a presidential election year than it was on
the previous Inauguration Day. Americans badly need a
boom to make up the lost ground. And we're not getting
it.

When March's numbers came in much better than
expected, I cautioned readers not to make too much of
one good month. Similarly, we shouldn't make too much
of June's disappointment. The question is whether,
taking a longer perspective, the economy is performing
well. And the answer is no.

If you want a single number that tells the story, it's
the percentage of adults who have jobs. When Mr. Bush
took office, that number stood at 64.4. By last August
it had fallen to 62.2 percent. In June, the number was
62.3. That is, during Mr. Bush's first 30 months, the
job situation deteriorated drastically. Last summer it
stabilized, and since then it may have improved
slightly. But jobs are still very scarce, with little
relief in sight.

Bush campaign ads boast that 1.5 million jobs were
added in the last 10 months, as if that were a
remarkable achievement. It isn't. During the Clinton
years, the economy added 236,000 jobs in an average
month. Those 1.5 million jobs were barely enough to
keep up with a growing working-age population.

In the spring, it seemed as if the pace of job growth
was accelerating: in March and April, the economy
added almost 700,000 jobs. But that now looks like a
blip a one-time thing, not a break in the trend. May
growth was slightly below the Clinton-era average, and
June's numbers only 112,000 new jobs, and a decline
in working hours were pretty poor.

What about overall growth? After two and a half years
of slow growth, real G.D.P. surged in the third
quarter of 2003, growing at an annual rate of more
than 8 percent. But that surge appears to have been
another blip. In the first quarter of 2004, growth was
down to 3.9 percent, only slightly above the
Clinton-era average. Scattered signs of weakness
rising new claims for unemployment insurance, sales
warnings at Target and Wal-Mart, falling numbers for
new durable goods orders have led many analysts to
suspect that growth slowed further in the second
quarter.

And economic growth is passing working Americans by.
The average weekly earnings of nonsupervisory workers
rose only 1.7 percent over the past year, lagging
behind inflation. The president of Aetna, one of the
biggest health insurers, recently told investors,
"It's fair to say that a lot of the jobs being created
may not be the jobs that come with benefits." Where is
the growth going? No mystery: after-tax corporate
profits as a share of G.D.P. have reached a level not
seen since 1929.

What should we be doing differently? For three years
many economists have argued that the most effective
job-creating policies would be increased aid to state
and local governments, extended unemployment insurance
and tax rebates for lower- and middle-income families.
The Bush administration paid no attention it never
even gave New York all the aid Mr. Bush promised after
9/11, and it allowed extended unemployment insurance
to lapse. Instead, it focused on tax cuts for the
affluent, ignoring warnings that these would do little
to create jobs.

After good job growth in March and April, the
administration declared its approach vindicated. That
was premature, to say the least. Whatever boost the
economy got from the tax cuts is now behind us, and
given the size of the budget deficit, another big tax
cut is out of the question. It's time to change the
policy mix to rescind some of those upper-income
cuts and pursue the policies we should have been
following all along.

One last point: government policies could do a lot
about the failure of new jobs to come with health
benefits, a huge source of anxiety for many American
families. John Kerry is right to make health care a
central plank of his platform. I'll analyze his
proposals in a future column.

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Posted by richard at July 6, 2004 01:08 PM