It's the Economy, Stupid

by Iden Sinai | 10/25/04 5:00am

One of the many themes upon which John Kerry has been harping during his campaign is the sputtering American economy. Sputtering, indeed. As I am sure many of you have heard, either in Kerry's television ads, the debates, or in the soundbytes of campaign analysis provided by such disinterested commentators as DNC chairman and lying weasel Terry McAuliffe, the economy's been tanking ever since Bush's inauguration, and there is no relief in sight -- never mind you that the recession started in February 2001, a mere 11 days after Bush's inauguration, that the United States is now in something the Fed likes to call "a recovery," or that the 2000 year-end analysis by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is bluntly titled "The Job Market in 2000: Slowing Down as the Year Ended." I'll even give Kerry a break -- I won't detail the positive effect of tax cuts on Americans.

So, let's look at today's economy. The economy has grown at 4.8 percent in the past year, as high as any year since 1984. Productivity grew at the fastest three-year rate since the Eisenhower administration. The United States has experienced 13 consecutive months of job growth. In fact, since August 2003, we have gained 1.9 million jobs. Kerry is wont to point out that in the months following Sept. 11, 2001, America lost 1.6 million jobs, but if I know my addition, adding 1.9 million to a loss of 1.6 million leaves you with a gain of 300,000. Apparently elementary-level math was not something one needed to know to hold a swift boat captaincy.

Well, surely the other economic indicators must be pointing so far downward that there is reasonable justification for Kerry's description of the economy as the worst since the Great Depression (let's forget the Carter administration). Home ownership is at an all-time high. Even more, minority home ownership has cracked the 50 percent mark for the first time in history.

But let's ignore that too. In 1996, the halcyon days of the Clinton administration (you know, after Paula Jones but before Monica Lewinsky), the percentage of American workers who held two jobs was 5.9 percent. Today? It's fallen to under 5.3 percent,

What about manufacturing jobs? Kerry mentions those more often than he does his Senate stint -- he apparently thinks he's running for the presidency of the United Steel Workers of America, not the United States "--saying that Bush's policies have hemorrhaged manufacturing jobs via outsourcing and those mischievous "tax loopholes." Well, as the Economic Policy Institute points out, the US began shedding manufacturing jobs in 1998. If memory serves me correctly, Bush wasn't president yet. Weakening Kerry even further is the fact that over 97,000 manufacturing jobs have been created in 2004 " over three times as many as created in 1996.

Incomes are up, too -- up by $1,444 on average this fiscal year. Adjusted for inflation, this is a 13 percent increase over income growth under Clinton in 1996. Proof lies in charity: as of yet in 2004, Americans have donated over $241 billion to charity, much higher than the $150 billion donated in 1996. Given the fact that inflation has remained under 2 percent, and that a $91 billion increase in voluntary spending is a bit above a 2 percent bump, one can see exactly how much more money the average American has.

As CNN analyst and former Clinton/current Kerry adviser James Carville (no conflict of interest there) pointed out back in 1992, "It's the economy, stupid." What makes the economy such a difficult subject for the average American to understand is this conundrum: how can the economy be the worst since Herbert Hoover, yet I have more money, my own home, and more buying power? Kerry's answer is to lie, to distort the truth by using old numbers, and to intentionally mislead the average voter (yes, Democrats are capable of misleading people, despite what CNN says). I'm not shocked, though. Such deception is to be expected from a party who claims a murderer on the one hand and a rapist on the other as two of its most prominent statesmen.