My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Reality on the Economy

The Rocky Mountain News ran this interesting graphic today (which I can't find on the website to link).

Peak Unemployment During Presidential Terms:

Carter: 7.8%
Reagan: 10.8%
Clinton: 7.1%

If the dim ones really want to make jobs the number one issue, I recommend they try. Only one of the previous Presidents had a shooting war--this one has had two; none of the previous had to deal with an event as catastrophic to the economy as Sept. 11; and none of the previous Presidents (with one possible exception) has seen an investor class rocked by scandal as much as this one. And yet, the numbers show an historic strength in employment. Couple that with the current rate of 5.6%--well below the historic average--and it will be very hard for the other side to make jobs the major issue.

"But this President has seen the loss of 3 million jobs-- a worse record than any President since Herbert Hoover" How is that possible? First of all, if we've lost that many jobs and the unemployment rate is still where it is and the economy is still growing at a healthy rate, that calls into the question the validity of such a number. And, secondly, that's a very comfortable statistic for the dim ones to fall back on if they choose to ignore the Labor Department's household survey, which indicated growth of almost half a million last month.

"Oh, the deficits are reckless and blah blah blah" Hugh Hewitt had an interesting discussion this week: as a percentage of GDP, this deficit is 4.5%; deficits during the Korean conflict and VIetnam were in double digits; and deficits during WWII were over 100%. Clearly, there is a history of deficits rising during times of war, and, historically speaking, this deficit is not such a big deal. Do I wish the administration were better at reining in spending? Sure. But let's not get carried away, shall we.

I know there are places--manufacturing in particular--that have been hard hit with job losses in the last few years. But it seems that the overall job picture is not as grim as the Democrats would have you believe. It's high time somebody went out and made the administration's case. If only they could get some time on a national show, maybe one of those question-and-answer deals. . .

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