Monday, November 01, 2004

Imagine There's No Jobs . . . You Don't Even Have to Try

The economy is sort of like sex: if you have to tell someone how good it is, it’s a safe bet that it’s not all that hot.

That’s our thinking after having heard Mark Hyman’s encomium to the Bush economy. Citing increased productivity and the household survey of unemployment, Hyman promises viewers (yet again) that the economy is in the process of taking off—that is if we just could have some more tax cuts for the wealthy.

Here’s the problem. Despite Hyman’s protestations that the household survey is more accurate than the payroll survey when it comes to unemployment, no less an expert than Allen Greenspan has said the exact opposite. And the stark fact remains that Bush is the first president since the Great Depression to preside over a net loss in jobs. That’s about as unspinnable an economic fact as you can get.

Furthermore, productivity is the only bright spot in an otherwise gloomy job report for Bush’s time in office. Comparing Bush’s stats to those of Clinton, the latter outperformed the former in nearly all categories, and usually by a substantial margin. Take a look at this chart by the Progressive Policy Institute, or this one by the Los Angeles Times. Per capita GDP, deficit reduction, well-paying jobs, health insurance, reducing poverty—in all these categories and more, Bush pales in comparison to the 42nd president.

Mark implores us to “just imagine” how the economy will grow in the future. If Bush is reelected, that’s exactly what we’ll have to do: imagine.

And that’s The Counterpoint.


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