The Straight Truth About the Bush Economy


Well-Known Member
In evaluating President Bushs recent speeches aimed at talking up the economy to the 63% of Americans who view it as either bad, very bad, or terrible, I would describe the different parts of his speech as appropriate, unwise, and downright misleading.
I think it is appropriate for the President to want to tell the 43% of the public that thinks that we are in an actual recession that we have had solid GDP and investment growth over the last couple of years. I also think it is appropriate for the President to honor our nations entrepreneurs, to remind people that globalization has upsides as well as downsides, and to take an optimistic tone in discussing the future.
I think it is unwise, however, to fail to acknowledge that much of the pessimism in the economy is not, as I wrote last August, a mystery we need Sherlock Holmes to solve. As Paul Krugman put it so well in his Monday column, Americans dont feel good about the economy because it hasnt been good for them.
But its downright misleading to ignore the economys weaknesses so the White House can falsely claim their fiscally reckless tax policy is an unequivocal success. When it comes to economic policy, President Bush is like the football coach with a 4-12 record who wants to tell you how his strategy has led to the four victories while pretending he has had an immaculate season. So if the President wants to claim his tax cuts have been the primary cause of our current economic performance since the end of the recession in November 2001, here are a few more economic facts he might want to consider.
American families have consistently seen their incomes decline during the Bush Presidencyeven when calculating only from the end of the last recession.
Real hourly earnings are down in the four years since the last recessionfrom $16.41 in November 2001 to $16.29 in October this year. [Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Adjusted to October 2005 dollars]
Real weekly wages are down in the four years since the last recessionfrom $557.44 in November 2001 to $550.60 this October. This is the first time on record real weekly wage growth have been negative this long after a recession. [BLS]
Since the 2003 tax cut, real hourly wages have fallen 2.2% and real weekly wages have fallen 1.6%. [BLS]
Real median household income has fallen each year Bush has been in office and by nearly $1,700 since the recession 2001 [U.S. Census Bureau, Income Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2004, Aug. 2005, Table A-1.]
The President focused on job creation in both recent speeches, but employment growth in the current recovery has been the weakest on record.
Monthly private employment growth has averaged a meager 59,700 per month even excluding the last recession and the months leading into itthe weakest monthly average for any recovery of this length. [BLS]
The 4. 5 million job growth in the last two and a half years that the President brags about is weak by historical standards. In the last three recoveries, the economy created 7.9 million jobs during the corresponding 30 month period3.4 million jobs more than weve seen in the last two and a half yearseven with a smaller workforce and smaller population. [BLS]
The only reason the unemployment rate has fallen to 5% is that a smaller share of the population is working or actively seeking work today compared to before the recession. If labor force participation were as high today, as it was before the recession the unemployment rate would be 6.6%1.6 points higher than todays official number [BLS]
Indeed, this is the first time on record that portion of the population holding a job is down 48 months after the end of a recession.
After seeing enormous gains in the fight against poverty under President Clinton, the poverty rate has risen each of Bushs years in office, as an additional 5.4 million people have fallen into poverty since 2000. [Census, Aug. 2005, Table B-1]
The poverty rate has risen each year since the end of the recessionfrom 11.7% in 2001 to 12.7% last year as 4 million people fell into poverty. [Census, Aug. 2005, Table B-1]
African American poverty has also jumpedfrom 22.7% in 2000 to 24.7% in 2004 as nearly 1 million (864,000) African Americans have fallen under the poverty line. [Census, Aug. 2005, Table B-1]
Child poverty rate is on the risejumping from 16.3% in 2001 to 17.8% in 2004. As 1.3 million children under 18 have fallen into poverty [Census, Aug. 2005, Table B-2]
This is the only recovery on record where poverty increased from the second to third year after the recession. [Census, Aug. 2005, Table B-1]
Though incomes have fallen, consumer spending growth has continued to propel the economy. Unfortunately, this combination has pushed the personal savings rate to historic lows, debt burdens to historic highs, and exacerbated our already unsustainable current account deficit.
The personal savings rate has plummeted this year, hitting -2.18% in Augusta level not seen since the Great Depression. [Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)]
Americans now pay a record 13.6% of their disposable income to service their debt. Since weve had to borrow at record rates to spend beyond our means, debt burdens have risen considerably. [Federal Reserve]
Thanks in part to our recent fiscal deterioration, net national savings have dropped from 4.9% when Bush took office to -1.0% last quarter its lowest level since the Great Depression. [BEA]
The transition from budget surpluses to budget deficits was a major factor in this shift to dissavings. In January 2001, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected a more than $5 trillion 10 year surplus. Today, Goldman Sachs predicts a $5 trillion cumulative deficit over the next 10 years. They cite the extension of the tax cut as the single biggest factor underlying that prediction.
The current account has deficit explodedhitting a record $199 billion in the first quarter this year and on pace to top $800 billion this year. [BEA, Global Insight Inc. projection in Greg Hitt, Trade Gap Eases, but Deficit Poised to Break a Record, The Wall Street Journal, 9/17/05]
We now have to borrow about $3 billion from abroad every business day to support our habits.
While President Bush may be trying to claim that everything positive in the economy is due to his tax policies, I dont want to commit the same error by trying to tie everything negative to the Administrations choices. But on the other hand, four years of declining wages, rising poverty and weak job growth is hardly strong validation for a tax policy that has significantly contributed to the largest fiscal deterioration in our nations history.
Gene Sperling


Another new thread where Suzie begs us to respond.

Cheryl I feel guilty about your eating all the expense of running this site on our behalf. How about setting the site up with a user based fee system.
Perhaps where starting a new thread would cost 5 bucks. :laugh:


Danny you get any snow out your way monday night? Calling for a possible dumping thursday night . Hope their wrong.


looking a little better now. 2 to 4 inches with the temps rising in the morning. I'm trying to think back, I can't remember if we ever had a major snow storm during december peak. I think I have been real lucky so far. hope i don't jinx myself this year.:biggrin:


golden ticket member
Thank goodness I don't have to put up with that snow stuff! People here go crazy with a 1/10 inch of rain!

Too many bad experiences with "black ice" in Utah and that totally helpless feeling when you are "doing ballet on the freeway".:w00t:


Well-Known Member
Had to pick up a prescription today and was talking to the pharmacist. Usually you think of milk and bread getting wiped out before a storm. she was saying people call in for refills even though it's not time for them. Man, even if we get a blizzard you'll be able to get out and about in a couple of days. Love the fact that this year I don't have to worry about delivering in it.:biggrin:


Well-Known Member
Monitoring the Numbers in the News

Rich Holden, a former editor at The Wall Street Journal, has spent years monitoring bungled numbers in news reports – and teaching journalists to be more vigilant. Take a quiz and see how you'd fare as an editor.

Link To Original Article

Anonymous Voice

This deserves a bump. Too bad the chorus tries to drown the message with the prattle.


golden ticket member
"tries to drown the message with the prattle."

Prattle? Cattle? Battle? Saddle?

Thanks anonymous, I've been working on a poem and you've really helped me along with a new rhyming scheme.:wink:


Staff member
Ya know, a professional driver slows it down in a snowstorm.
Safety is job 1.

(And, did I mention 4 - 7 " tomorrow?)


Well-Known Member
"• The personal savings rate has plummeted this year, hitting -2.18% in August—a level not seen since the Great Depression. [Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)]
Americans now pay a record 13.6% of their disposable income to service their debt. Since we’ve had to borrow at record rates to spend beyond our means, debt burdens have risen considerably. [Federal Reserve]"

Who's fault is this? People use credit cards like its monopoly money and live above their means so they can't save and this is Bush's fault? Just like hurrican Katrina right?


Well-Known Member
You are correct. America's private debt and it rush to spend into debt is not Bush's fault. The problem is we have come to see gov't as the source of all solutions to all problems so therefore they must be the source of all problems too and the President is seen as the head of the gov't so it stands to reason he/or a she in the future I'm sure will always have to carry that burden of being the ultimate "at fault" scapegoat.

Bush and the republicans in my book get very poor grades because they betrayed the core values of cutting the size of gov't and reducing the cost of gov't as well as the tax burden for all Americans no matter who they may be. The republican party has shown itself inept at being a party of leadership when it comes to it's what it calls it's core values. The problem IMO has been that the Bush adminstration has been taken over by neo-con fellow travelers who's track record and history are nothng more than reformed Trotskites (Irving Kristol, father of the neo-cons refers to himself in that fashion) who have taken leftist Statism and having seen the political shifting of the American body politic as well as the leftist movement being taken over by extreme radicals (again Kristol's explanation, not mine) and have brought this central planning and control over to the right and pulled Statist Fascism to the forefront of the American means of governance via the so-called American rightwing political front.

Until the American public realizes that no matter which party you go with, the chain and yoke of Statist bondage is equally bad then it's like the trends will continue with some years being good and that President enjoying the outcome, like Clinton. You also have bad years like Bush has had and to be honest he's compounded some of the problems as well but many are inherited such as the economy was already turning south the last 6 months of Clinton's Presidency but again, when the actual effects are seen the person in office will get the blame no matter what. Bush has embraced the Statist Fascist model to the point now he can't back out because the pain would be intense. He's locked in to see it through now and there are no other options.

If you dare one piece delving into the historical travels of American Fascism can be found at the link below. Depending on your politics and who you may have elevated to iconic levels among our past leaders, this piece may be unpleasant to read so be fore warned. Otherwise it's an excellent piece IMO.

Enjoy the weekend and yes Tie, you are right about the weather but hey I'm gonna enjoy these 60 degree days all I can. I just dread the bugs that will overwhelm us this summer because we had no cold weather to kill them back. Man, I'm gonna fire up the smoker/grill. What you guys wanna eat?

Tyrone Slothrop

Well-Known Member
It may possibly be that private debt has risen because many Americans can no longer easily afford things like health care, and heating oil.

In the meantime, tax cuts are given to business and top income earners, and there is no evidence of those benefits actually 'trickling down' to those most in need. The economy is stagnant, and new job growth is pathetic. Meanwhile, our elected representatives continue to spend like drunken sailors, the biggest difference is they only spend on 'Pork'.

Is that what's on the smoker today, wkmac?