OUR JOB PICKLE

Dan Keech: ‘Should the right column on today’s chart be 1,000s? It’s hard to believe all those presidents presided over creation of between -1000 and 22,000 jobs.’

☞ You got me. It’s all in thousands. Sorry. And as someone else noted, it’s not fair to compare Bush 43 with, say, Reagan, because Reagan was in office so much longer than Bush has been. So here it is again, but with a second column showing job growth as of the 42nd month of each presidency (if it lasted that long).

Bureau of Labor Statistics Monthly Data (1939-2004)
(in thousands)

Presidential
Administration
Overall
Job Growth
Job Growth after
42 months
Truman (1945-53) 8,702 3,807
Eisenhower (1953-61) 3,538 2,438
Kennedy (1961-63) 3,572 NA
Johnson (1963-69) 12,183 8,363
Nixon (1969-74) 9,181 4,322
Ford (1974-77) 2,073 NA
Carter (1977-81) 10,339 9,403
Reagan (1981-89) 16,102 3,430
Bush I (1989-93) 2,592 1,507
Clinton (1993-2001) 22,663 9,922
Bush II (2001-2004) -1087 -1087

So I say again: maybe huge budget deficits don’t stimulate the economy as well when you run them to give massive tax cuts to the wealthy as when you run them to provide jobs and buying power to average folks.

Worse Still, the blend of jobs is shifting from higher to lower paying. By one reasonable estimate, the new jobs being created pay $9,000 a year less than the old ones being lost.

OUR IRAQ PICKLE

Sue Hoell offers this telling story from the Oregonian, which begins:

BAGHDAD — The national guardsman peering through the long-range scope of his rifle was startled by what he saw unfolding in the walled compound below.

From his post several stories above ground level, he watched as men in plainclothes beat blindfolded and bound prisoners in the enclosed grounds of the Iraqi Interior Ministry.

He immediately radioed for help. Soon after, a team of Oregon Army National Guard soldiers swept into the yard and found dozens of Iraqi detainees who said they had been beaten, starved and deprived of water for three days.

In a nearby building, the soldiers counted dozens more prisoners and what appeared to be torture devices — metal rods, rubber hoses, electrical wires and bottles of chemicals. Many of the Iraqis, including one identified as a 14-year-old boy, had fresh welts and bruises across their back and legs.

The soldiers disarmed the Iraqi jailers, moved the prisoners into the shade, released their handcuffs and administered first aid. Lt. Col. Daniel Hendrickson of Albany, Ore., the highest ranking American at the scene, radioed for instructions.

But in a move that frustrated and infuriated the guardsmen, Hendrickson’s superior officers told him to return the prisoners to their abusers and immediately withdraw. It was June 29 — Iraq’s first official day as a sovereign country since the U.S.-led invasion.

The incident, the first known case of human rights abuses in newly sovereign Iraq, is at the heart of the American dilemma here.

In handing over power, U.S. officials gave Iraqis authority to run their own institutions — even if they made mistakes. But officials understand that the United States will be held responsible when the new Iraqi authorities stumble.

☞ At least we’ll likely catch or kill Osama bin Laden sometime within the next 84 days. But it’s astonishing it has taken this long, and a tragedy that we moved 13,000 Special Forces from Afghanistan to Iraq before the job was done. What were we thinking?

 

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