Paul Krugman’s preview of tomorrow’s debate is well worth reading. In part:
Jobs. Mr. Bush will talk about the 1.7 million jobs created since the summer of 2003 . . .
Mr. Bush is the first president since Herbert Hoover to preside over a decline in payroll employment. That’s worse than it sounds because the economy needs around 1.6 million new jobs each year just to keep up with population growth. The past year’s job gains, while better news than earlier job losses, barely met this requirement, and they did little to close the huge gap between the number of jobs the country needs and the number actually available.
Unemployment. Mr. Bush will boast about the decline in the unemployment rate from its June 2003 peak. But the employed fraction of the population didn’t rise at all; unemployment declined only because some of those without jobs stopped actively looking for work, and therefore dropped out of the unemployment statistics. The labor force participation rate – the fraction of the population either working or actively looking for work – has fallen sharply under Mr. Bush; if it had stayed at its January 2001 level, the official unemployment rate would be 7.4 percent.
The deficit. Mr. Bush will claim that the recession and 9/11 caused record budget deficits. Congressional Budget Office estimates show that tax cuts caused about two-thirds of the 2004 deficit.
The tax cuts. Mr. Bush will claim that Senator John Kerry opposed “middle class” tax cuts. But budget office numbers show that most of Mr. Bush’s tax cuts went to the best-off 10 percent of families, and more than a third went to the top 1 percent, whose average income is more than $1 million.
The Kerry tax plan. Mr. Bush will claim, once again, that Mr. Kerry plans to raise taxes on many small businesses. In fact, only a tiny percentage would be affected. Moreover, as Mr. Kerry correctly pointed out last week, the administration’s definition of a small-business owner is so broad that in 2001 it included Mr. Bush, who does indeed have a stake in a timber company – a business he’s so little involved with that he apparently forgot about it.
HE CAN RUN, BUT HE CAN’T HIDE – THE TRUTH
How can we talking about tomorrow’s debate when we’ve barely finished with last Friday’s? On Friday we had a louder, more energetic President, no longer packing something between his shoulder blades.
Kerry looks into the camera and promises not to raise taxes on folks earning up to $200,000 – and, in fact, to give them more tax cuts?
‘That’s just not credible!’ the President kept shouting. He knows from ‘read my lips,’ after all. But what a remarkable thing for this President to make even the slightest claim to credibility. Four years ago, he looked into the camera and said he wouldn’t touch the annual Social Security surplus – yet he has spent every penny of it. He looked into the camera and said that ‘by far, the vast majority’ of his proposed tax cut ‘would go to people at the bottom of the economic ladder.’
The President seems to be projecting.
And as for his new slogan . . . is my memory failing me, or didn’t he use that same ‘he can run, but he can’t hide’ deal to deride Osama Bin Laden years ago? How successful was that bravado? Even if we get Bin Laden next week, it will be two disastrous years too late.
Even so, the only mistakes the President could recall making these past four years were a few bum appointments – others who had made mistakes.
Bill Myhre: ‘It seems to me that one interesting angle is to speculate who those ‘appointment mistakes’ might be as a way of focusing on just how bad so many of them have been. Take the environment. You have likely seen Robert Kennedy, Jr.’s Crimes Against Nature, which includes examples of where Bush has put polluters in charge of agencies that are supposed to protect us:
- The head of the Forest Service who is a timber industry lobbyist.
- The head of public lands who is a mining industry lobbyist who believes that public lands are unconstitutional.
- The head of the air division at EPA who is a utility lobbyist who has represented the worst air polluters in America.
- The second in command at EPA is a Monsanto lobbyist.
- The head of Superfunds is a lobbyist whose last job was teaching corporate polluters how to evade Superfunds.
“Do you suppose any of these are on the President’s list of appointment ‘mistakes’?”
☞ Uh . . . probably not.
A CUBAN-AMERICAN’S VIEW
Click here. This Cuban refugee, a lifetime Republican, is voting Kerry. (He doesn’t mention it, but because he likely makes in excess of $200,000 a year, his taxes will be higher after Kerry wins. But still he’s voting for Kerry. Me, too.)
This is one more reason we’re going to win Florida [for the nine others, click here and scroll to item 11, subsections (a) thru (j)].
We’re gonna win. Electoral-vote.com currently shows it 280-254 for Kerry – and that’s without Florida. The numbers will seesaw between now and November 2. The polls show the race hair-splittingly close. But the polls don’t fully reflect the resolve of millions of “unlikely voters” to turn out and get this job done. I hope it will be better, but if we go into the election down 3 or 4 points in the polls, Kerry wins.
(Gore went in down 2 or 3 points and he won.)
Coming one of these days: E-mail Commandments . . . Nuclear Rebuttal . . . Taking Stock of Our Stocks (They’re Up!) (Well, not MRK) . . . and, yes, believe it or not, More On The Calico Cats
Quote of the Day
The Beardstown Ladies’ Common-Sense Investment Guide. A classic from the investment club that has outperformed Wall Street gurus three to one. ("It’s easy to get investment advice these days. But in this volatile market, it’s important to separate the faddish from the trustworthy.” The Beardstown Ladies, it turned out, had widely underperformed Wall Street.)~American Bookseller's December 1997 list of recommended investment books.
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