Tuesday, October 12, 2004


Before tomorrow nights debate on domestic issues, I thought it would be useful to stop and look back at Bush's jobs record of the last 4 years. Nothing particularly ground breaking here, but it doesn't hurt to make this point over and over again until it bores its way into our collective consciousness.

In last Friday's debate, he claimed the economy had added 1.9 million new jobs in the last 13 months. Not quite true, as the chart below illustrates.

The economy has added only 1.8 million in this time. Moreover, only 1.7 million of those jobs were in the private sector.

Here it is real simple. The US economy entered recession in March 2001 shortly after Bush took office. I note this not to blame Bush for recession (no way he could have caused it yet), but to note that at the peak of the business cycle total US employment reached 132.5 million jobs. The recession was pretty short--over by November of the same year when employment stood at 130.9 million.

But the economy kept shedding jobs (hence, the "job-loss" recovery), so Bush and the Republican Congress passed a whopper of a tax cut. Man was it big, with almost all the benefits going to people who already made a sh@t ton of money. The tax cut, he told us, was necessary to create jobs. How many jobs? About 1.4 million more than the 5.1 million or so the economy would create on its own without a tax cut or other change in policy. These jobs would all come by the end of 2004.

Finally, the job market hit rock bottom in August 2003 at 129.8 million (what mathematicians might call a local minimum) and began clawing back to 131.6 million jobs in September 2004. At this point, trillions of dollars into deficit from Bush's tax cuts, the president was some 3.7 million jobs short of those he promised--not to mention 800,000 jobs shy of the level when he took office.

In the words of Dick Gephardt, "A miserable failure."


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