AN AMERICAN’S PERSPECTIVE - “Finding a ‘But’”

(06/21/2004)

By Roger Propst

rpropst@frontiernet.net

The first Friday of each month the U.S. Department of Labor announces the nonfarm job report for the previous month. On Friday, June 4th the government announced that the U. S. economy had produced 248,000 new jobs in May. At the same time it revised March and April upward by 70,000+ jobs bringing the total for the last 10 months to 1,400,000. The economy is producing jobs at a pace that will create 3,000,000 new jobs this year, wiping out the job deficit the Democrats have been harping about since the presidential primaries began.

Not coincidentally, the lead article on Monday, June 7th on the Hur Herald, was “Job Opportunities Still Lacking – Encouraging Stats Sound Good, But…” The article was a product of a private, liberal Washington think tank, the Economic Policy Institute, and not surprisingly the writer inserted a but, and attempted a spin of the facts that would indicate 1,400,000 new jobs was somehow not really what was happening. One only need look at the members of the Board of Directors of this organization to see its liberal slant, Robert Reich, Clinton Labor Secretary, Morton Bahr, Sandra Feldman, Leo Gerard, Ron Gettelfinger etc., all leaders of groups supporting the Kerry campaign. The article attempted to downplay the quality of the jobs, notwithstanding that 70% of the May jobs averaged in excess of the national average for non supervisory jobs of $15.24 per hour. The writer also tried to show the unemployment rate to be higher than the 5.6% reported figure by spinning unsupported contentions to increase the number. Sorry, but the number is what it is; you don’t get to change the methods when you don’t like the results. The method was apparently fine when it reflected a rate acceptable to a Democratic administration.

George W. Bush became President in January, 2001, inheriting a Clinton-Gore recession that had begun in November, 2000. Seven and one-half months later, our nation was attacked by radical Islamic terrorists in New York, Washington, and the fields of Pennsylvania, killing nearly 3,000 Americans. The airline industry was grounded for the first time in the history of our country after the attacks; three would later file for bankruptcy as a direct result of the attacks. One million American jobs were lost in the three months immediately following. These job losses coupled with losses as a result of the inherited recession account for the loss of jobs during the Bush administration. During the Democratic Presidential primaries, all the candidates railed on and on about job losses blaming the Bush administration as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. An attack on American soil by terrorists and an inherited recession had nothing to do with the job losses. Yeah, right!

Ironically, an article by Lawrence Kudlow, syndicated columnist and co-host of CNBC’s Kudlow and Kramer, appeared on June 7th in the Parkersburg News, entitled “Economy Doesn’t Need Kerry’s Fix”. CNBC could never be construed to be a conservative supporting media outlet. In the article Kudlow points out that the Institute of Supply Management reports that the speed of supplier deliveries has hit its highest level since 1979; firms cannot produce fast enough to meet rising demand. New factory hiring has jumped to a 31 year high, the best since 1973. Of more than 400 industrial firms surveyed, 36 percent added workers in May, while just 7 percent had fewer workers. As the inventory rebuilding process ratchets up over the next year, expect even more job creation to follow.

The fact of the matter is that the American economy is booming, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is increasing at a rate not seen since the Reagan years in the 1980’s, jobs are being created at a rate of 300,000+ a month, interest rates are at a 50 year low, most citizens have refinanced mortgages saving themselves thousands of dollars in interest, tax cuts are allowing citizens to spend their money, instead of the government, personal income has increased 5.7% in the past year, all economic indicators are up. We don’t need to change anything to help the economy, we just need to stay out of the way.

West Virginia will undoubtedly be behind in the economic recovery, as it always is because of its unfriendly business environment, i.e., Workers’ Compensation rates, high corporate taxes, and a myriad of governmental regulations. Endless administrations have done nothing to remedy the business climate in this state.

Yes, if you can’t find a “but”, you can always make one up!

Editor's Note: Readers may decide for themselves about the Economic Policy Institute by clicking the links

www.epinet.org

EPI's Economists and Researchers


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