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The Tally Ho

Tuesday, August 10, 2004


Here is a bit from Paul Krugman's latest Op-Ed, Spin the Payrolls:
So have we returned to prosperity? No: jobs are harder to find, by any measure, than they were at any point during Bill Clinton's second term. The job situation might have improved somewhat in the past year, but it's still not good.

Second, the apologists give numbers without context. President Bush boasts about 1.5 million new jobs over the past 11 months. Yet this was barely enough to keep up with population growth, and it's worse than any 11-month stretch during the Clinton years.

Third, they cherry-pick any good numbers they can find.

The shocking news that the economy added only 32,000 jobs in July comes from payroll data. Experts say what Alan Greenspan said in February: "Everything we've looked at suggests that it's the payroll data which are the series which you have to follow." Another measure of employment, from the household survey, fluctuates erratically; for example, it fell by 265,000 in February, a result nobody believes. Yet because July's household number was good, suddenly administration officials were telling reporters to look at that number, not the more reliable payroll data.

Addition: Also, thanks to Steven R, a DKos diarist, we have this editorial from the Des Moines Register titled Admit it: Tax cuts have failed to create enough jobs. Here is a little:
It's time to admit that tax cuts, as an all-purpose economic policy - indeed the only economic policy of this administration - have failed.

Rather than admitting the mistakes, some continue to cling to the notion that cutting taxes will work. It takes time. Or they point to a different set of numbers in an attempt to prove that the job creation is adequate. This is not only disingenuous, it's damaging.

There is a better way to create jobs than to try doing it indirectly through tax cuts. Do it directly by building things. History tells us so....

If the money the federal government has been borrowing had been spent building things the country needs, everyone would be better off, from those wanting to swim in an Iowa lake to patients treated in crumbling public hospitals.

It's never too late to change strategies.

So is the administration's tax/economic plans pure ideology, or is there another agenda? Do they simply cling to the ideology that massive tax cuts for the wealthiest will pay for themselves in new revenue, or is it that having massive debts will hinder or derail any new possible social benefits (ie. health care for all, better public housing...) while undermining our current benefits? Maybe it is a bit of both, or just the consequence of failed policy.


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