Third Party & Independents Archives

Economics Still Work!

Just a couple of months ago all we would hear out of Democratic opponents of George W. Bush was how we were having a “jobless recovery” and how our economy was doing so poorly. Bush’s defenders would respond “the tax cuts have fixed the economy ruined by 9/11 and Clinton” and the jobs are coming right along. Well the reason you haven’t heard much about the economy recently is that it is doing great, jobless claims are down to their lowest levels since 2000, and unemployment is down to around 5.6 %, which is just a shade above what is the default unemployment rate due to people transitioning jobs and just the lag in the market.

All of the panic about the jobless recovery was as economically illiterate as the outcry about outsourcing. The economy became productive and the “evil corporations” that people love to attack for all of the world’s problems are now employing more Americans (as well as people overseas). Even factory payrolls are jumping. Meanwhile, this economic recovery is saving the Bush administration from some of its irresponsible spending policies by increased tax revenues and significantly cutting into the projected deficits down a much more manageable, although still not acceptable, $477 billion. All is obviously not rosy yet, but all the signs point in the right direction. Bush’s supporters are turning out to be correct about the jobs coming (although its happening later than they said it would), but their attempt to take credit for the recovery is just as economically confused as the Democrats’ attempt to blame him for the recession in the first place.

Just like Bush had nothing to do with the recession he was so loudly blamed for early in the presidency, he has just about as little to do about this recovery. The American economy is improving, as it always does, because of the ingenuity and productivity of our businessmen and the hard work of our workers. The politicians can continue to play games- they can point to Bush “losing X” jobs, even though he did not actually lose anything or they can point to Bush “getting the economy back on track”, even though this is just the regular business cycle. Meanwhile, the economy does not know about political games and will continue in a cycle of gradual improvement, regardless of who is president, as long as the president does not mess with free trade or try to over-regulate (which is why John Kerry is much less dangerous to our economy future than someone like Ralph Nader or Howard Dean would be).

While people’s opinion of the economy lag behind the actual results (ironically, the people’s beliefs about how Bush is handling the economy are very low according to the AP article I linked to), as the positive numbers continue to roll in the coming months, expect all of this to change. The situation in Iraq, mostly due to one sided media coverage focusing only on the negative aspects of whats going on over there, will become Bush’s weakness, while the economy will become his strength- it is a rather startling reversal from a year ago. What should be worrisome to Democrats is that people to tend vote their pocketbooks and if trends continue for the next 9 month, as they likely will, Bush will be riding an excellent economy into the election. Of course he has little to do with it- but such is the nature of democracy.

Posted by Misha Tseytlin at May 7, 2004 10:13 PM