February 29, 2004


Is 5.6 percent a low figure, or a high one? Depends. If only 5.6 percent of hamburgers are discovered to contain meat, that’s way low. But if 5.6 percent of teachers are using their students as drug mules in elaborate Asian heroin importing schemes, that’s sort of high.

We’re comparing apples and oranges here. Or junkies and burgers. What if we compare similar or identical figures on the same subject, and from the same source?

Here’s CNN in July 1996, as the Clinton-Dole election approached:

Economists didn't expect June's unemployment rate to be much different from May's, which was an already-low 5.6 percent. But in fact, it did fall -- to 5.3 percent. The unemployment rate hasn't been that low since June 1990.

So 5.6 percent is “already-low”. Now here’s CNN in December 2001:

The U.S. unemployment rate jumped to 5.7 percent in November - the highest in six years - as employers cut hundreds of thousands more jobs in response to the first recession in a decade in the world's largest economy.

Can you “jump” to a figure 0.1 percent above that already defined as “low”? More from CNN, this time in March 2002:

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 5.5 percent in February and businesses added jobs for the first time since last summer, the government said Friday, as the labor market began to recover from a downturn that led to more than a million job cuts in 2001.

The jobless rate fell from 5.6 percent in January as employers added 66,000 jobs to payrolls ...

That should read “fell from an already-low 5.6 percent in January”, surely. In January, CNN’s Mark Gongloff decided that an unemployment rate of 5.7 percent was bad news for Bush:

Though the unemployment rate posted a surprising decline, and many economists believe the job market will improve in 2004, Friday's report probably will keep Fed policy-makers on hold and may put some political pressure on President Bush.

A weak job market could prove tough for President Bush as the November election approaches.

Gongloff repeated his line about Bush’s election chances earlier this month when a familiar number appeared:

The unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent, the lowest level since January 2002, from 5.7 percent in December.

A weak job market could prove tough for President Bush as the November election approaches.

Why? It didn’t for Clinton.

(Via Phisher at Free Republic.)

Posted by Tim Blair at February 29, 2004 02:24 AM

common sense doesn't come easily for most, which is why economics is so difficult for many to understand. those who want to spin 5.6% as bad will do so, and those dumb enough to believe it will vote kerry.

Posted by: anon at February 29, 2004 at 03:53 AM

common sense doesn't come easily for most, which is why economics is so difficult for many to understand. those who want to spin 5.6% as bad will do so, and those dumb enough to believe it will vote kerry.

Posted by: anon at February 29, 2004 at 03:54 AM

"Full employment: In principle, this is when all of our economy's resources are being used to produce output. This is one of the five economic goals, specifically one of the three macro goals (the other two are economic growth and stability). In practice, our economy is considered to be at full employment when the unemployment rate is around 5 to 5 1/2 percent and the capacity utilization rate is about 85 percent. This unemployment rate includes structural and frictional unemployment."


[Some people are pissing up a stump.]

Posted by: Theodopoulos Pherecydes at February 29, 2004 at 04:53 AM

I still remember the Jimmy Carter era when unemployment was around 7 percent with inflation over 13 percent. Today we've got 5.6 percent unemployment, inflation is next to nothing, with a solid 4 percent growth rate, and the media acts as if we're in the midst of another Great Depression.

Posted by: Randal Robinson at February 29, 2004 at 05:04 AM

Here is the part that always amazes me, 1,000,000 jobs lost in 2001. Hmmm, lets see that is half of the job losses in 3 years, but Bush hadn't even had a chance to get the tax cuts and other economic stimulus going until the middle of that year. Though I disagree with the man on some of his social policies, his economic steps have been right on the money.

Posted by: wayne at February 29, 2004 at 05:39 AM

" "A weak job market could prove tough for President Bush as the November election approaches."
Why? It didn’t for Clinton."

Because Clinton can do no wrong and Bush can do no right. *Anything* that can be made to stick, no matter the facts, will be thrown at Bush again and again. Plastic Turkey, anyone?

I continue to be amazed how many feminists not only gave Clinton a free pass, concerning sexual harrassment of women, but how they defended Clinton and went after the *women* who claimed to have been sexually harrassed by Clinton. These are the same feminists who have tried to brainwash many into believing that harrassment has taken place when the woman merely 'feels' harrassed because of a look or gesture. (Look or gesture,here, not being the obvious ones you'd associate with a sexual come-one.)

Pres. Bush has a female high-ranking member of his staff (Condi Rice) and has potentially helped thousands of women in Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet, the feminists are silent, at best, about Rice and her achievments. They are also pretty silent about the help given to the women in Afghanistan and Iraq because of our military actions.

If Clinton had done what Bush has in terms of his staffing and Iraq/Afghanistan, the feminists would not stop singing his praises.

I don't see a double standard here. Does anyone else? (=sarcasm)

Posted by: Chris Josephson at February 29, 2004 at 05:58 AM

CNN = Chicken Noodle Network. What more can you expect from these "spin cycle" idiots. It's true, Anon, the dumb ones will vote for Kerry. Chris, you are correct about Bush being a force in feminism - he HAS liberated Afgani women and Iraqi women. Unfortunately the media (especially the Chicken channel), never emphasises this.

Posted by: koranistoiletpaper at February 29, 2004 at 06:18 AM

Perhaps the point is one of expectations:
5.6% would be excellent for a Dem administration;
however, we expect more from a Republican one.
- and yes, a figure below 5% is very dangerous to an economy, and completely the wrong goal.

Chris: have you already forgotton that Condi is supposed to be called a white man? - conservatives all look the same, you know.

Posted by: Woody TwoShoes at February 29, 2004 at 06:32 AM

No way.

You're telling us that CNN holds Democratic and Republican administrations to different standards?

That thar's crazy talk, Tim.

Posted by: david at February 29, 2004 at 06:47 AM

Hmmm. Fuzzy math here it seems. How does the market add 66,000 jobs when unemployment falls 0.1%, but when it increases 0.2%, millions of jobs are lost. Seems likely that only 120,000 jobs were lost in aggregate between Dec 2001 when unemployment was 5.7% and Feb 02 when it dropped to 5.5%.

Maybe CNN uses the new math. Calculation doesn't matter as long as the answer feels right.

Posted by: Jim at February 29, 2004 at 08:34 AM

This is an OUTRAGE.

If 5.6% of the burgers I purchased were meatless, heads would roll.

Posted by: Sortelli at February 29, 2004 at 08:59 AM

5.6% of journalists have “already low” intelligence. The remaining journalists are just plan stupid.

Posted by: perfectsense at February 29, 2004 at 09:03 AM

One of my fixed opinions (so to speak) is that many political arguments could be resolved -- or would never occur -- if people were simply better educated. Especially in mathematics and, in particular, in statistics.

Posted by: George at February 29, 2004 at 09:04 AM

I'd love to live in a country where 5.7 per cent unemployment is considered HIGH.

Look at Germany - slumming around at 11%+.

Good thing they've got Michael Moore telling them they have a superior economic system.

Posted by: Quentin George at February 29, 2004 at 11:24 AM

Sortelli -- I've "clarified" that opening paragraph, as Howard Dean would say.

Posted by: tim at February 29, 2004 at 11:47 AM

Now you're flip-flopping on the burger platform, you... you... [i]McBlogger![/i]

Posted by: Sortelli Divide at February 29, 2004 at 12:20 PM

Perhaps the US and International media, which hold the actual working class in such contempt, might concede that they believe at least 5.7% of Americans are unemployable knuckle dragging mouthbreathers who are fit only to grace the set of "The Jerry Springer Show" when they aren't out flying the flag and beating up Muslim neighbors.

Taken in that context, the unemployment rate is actually 0%!!! Good job, W! Well done.

Posted by: JDB at February 29, 2004 at 12:39 PM

Sortelli: use regular html pointy brackets, not php coding. I know the ".php" endings of the files here is confusing, but I have them php-enabled for other reasons.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at February 29, 2004 at 01:02 PM

as employers cut hundreds of thousands more jobs in response to the first recession in a decade in the world's largest economy.

This is another media spin for the economically illiterate. Anyone want to guess how long the economic cycle between recessions is?

Posted by: Tim at February 29, 2004 at 01:36 PM

Perhaps we need to paint the parking lots at Wal-Mart's in a color scheme that represents employment and tax refunds. Maybe 90% of the lot in yellow lined spots; and each 1% more in various psychedelic colors. Then we all can measure the economy in the simplest and most direct manner. The more multi-colored parking spaces used, the better the economy, stupid. Hey, my 3rd grader understands it, maybe the democrats might-think?

Posted by: RangerAJ at February 29, 2004 at 01:43 PM

Thanks, Andrea. I knew better, but hit the post button a little too fast again. :(

Posted by: Sortelli at February 29, 2004 at 01:55 PM

Can you “jump” to a figure 0.1 percent above that already defined as “low”?

Yes. As long as you're starting from some place even lower.

Posted by: Robert at February 29, 2004 at 03:50 PM

From NewsMax: "The economy's performance in the second half of last year marked the best back-to-back quarterly performance since the first two quarters of 1984."

See full article: http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2004/2/27/85551.shtml

Posted by: Lee at February 29, 2004 at 11:08 PM

Tim- the template is already in for Bush and the economy. Liberal pundits will ignore everything except the raw job creation of the monthly payroll number- forget GDP, productivity the market etc. The Clinton bubble put Bush in a jobs hole and that is the club they are already using against him here . Bush= Hoover, that's the line that is already being pounded- circumstances be damned. If this country falls for it, it deserves Kerry.

Posted by: jj shaka at March 1, 2004 at 12:15 AM

All old media in America (the NYTimes, CNN, etc.) is just Jayson Blair lite. They know it, they've always known it, and now the rest of us are starting to catch on. Jayson's problem was that his making stuff up was too clumsy, too obvious. The rule is: don't obviously make stuff up, just spin and shade leftward, in everything and always.

Posted by: Sergio at March 2, 2004 at 03:08 AM

Hmm. I also seem to recall an interesting little debate in the late 1990s over whether or not the 5% mark was a natural unemployment rate; the consensus by the end of the decade was that 5% wasn't that important, as far as I remember. So, the goalposts have shifted, but not because of partisan animus, it seems to me. Oh well.

Posted by: Brett at March 2, 2004 at 03:10 AM

I have a little more faith in people. People are not stupid. They see a little more in their take home pay. They'll see a little more given back come tax time. And when people open their statements for those 401k's etc etc- they see nice returns in those also.

Posted by: shark at March 2, 2004 at 03:20 AM

You guys are ridiculous. Of course 5.6% is high for Bush and was ONCE low for Clinton. When Clinton started the unemployment was over 7%, so to get it down to 5.6% was a mammoth task. When he finished though, he was under 5% and very close to being under 4%. So, when Bush goes up from 4% to 5.6%, IT IS HIGH!

For example, when Bill Gates was 10 years old, $20 was a lot of money for him; $2 wasn't. Do you think if Bill Gates was to lose all his $40+ billion dollars and end up with only $20 he should still refere to that $20 as "a lot of money?" Of course not. The fact that we have regressed is the problem. Don't be dopes and argue a point you are know you are wrong about. You can say that Bush hasn't had enough time, you can say that there are other factors affecting the economy, but you can't say that economically we were worse off under Clinton that we were under Bush.

Posted by: Bill at March 2, 2004 at 03:27 AM

JJ shake is basically right I think but with some comments.

The 4% inflation rate in the late Clinton years established a new baseline. Before that 4% would have been assumed to cause wage inflation.

Also Dems may have built themselves a trap here. If job growth begins to exceed 200k/month in the late spring and summer, all Kerry will be able to say is something like, "the jobs should have come sooner" to which Bush can say "well if Congress had passed the tax cuts faster they would have".

Posted by: mhw at March 2, 2004 at 03:28 AM

The Dems are digging another hole on this one. Job creation will accelerate; in fact, it already has. In 6 - 8 moths (the election window), job creation and the jobless rate will not be anything you can hang a campaign on.

Fortunately, the Dem fellow travellers in the press will see to it that, like all their other false starts and dead issues, this one drops into the memory hole, too.

Posted by: R C Dean at March 2, 2004 at 03:37 AM


Bill has put it all in perspective for us: change the subject.

Alas, guys, they're gonna keep up the myths about the Economy: one of Billy Crystal's jokes last nite at the Oscars had it that the present economy is "tanking". Um, tanking, must've been thinking of Dukakis!


Posted by: TomCom at March 2, 2004 at 03:55 AM

Pretty simple, unless you are a knee-jerk partisan. The unemployment RATE is low because of low participation, not because of a strong job market. If the job market were strong, there would be (a) plenty of jobs, and (b) quickly rising wages - we have neither. Instead, we have an extremely weak labor market, and the first net loss of jobs of any administration since Herbert Hoover.

Posted by: Dwayne Besuden at March 2, 2004 at 03:55 AM

Given their corporate business accumen in the years after the March 2000 tech bubble burst, CNN is probably more concerned about the 2001 5.6 percent jobless rate because so much of that was made up of former AOL Time Warner employees...

Posted by: John at March 2, 2004 at 04:01 AM

Apparently even simpler if you are a knee-jerk partisan: "Bush bad! Facts negotiable!"

Posted by: McGehee at March 2, 2004 at 04:03 AM


You don't make alotta sense fella. The starting point should be irrelevant in using charged terms like "HIGH" and "LOW." Surely you see that.

Posted by: mike at March 2, 2004 at 04:12 AM

Correct me if I'm wrong (and I suspect you'll do that even if I'm right), but didn't Osama bin Ladin have a tiny bit to do with the job losses? I don't hear much discussion of this part of the equation. Beyond the economic damage he directly caused, the diversion of resources required to throw him out of Afghanistan, the increased costs of home defense, the need to eliminate the basing of terrorists in MidEast countries (a process started in Iraq), etc all have had a huge impact on the economy. Someone could probably calculate hom many of the job losses are due to this. In that Clinton had his chances to get the B**tard, I think that percent could be laid at his door, and the door of the party that hamstrung our intelligence efforts over the past decades.

Posted by: Scott at March 2, 2004 at 04:14 AM

Hey Dwayne, are you old enough to remember the Nixon, Ford and Carter adminsistrations? I thought not. You (and whoever you are parroting) don't know anything about job losses.

Posted by: eric at March 2, 2004 at 04:27 AM

Millions of jobs lost. First administation since Hoover to have a net loss of jobs. Unemployment benefits are running out without there being new jobs, so they fall off the unemployment rolls and are not counted. Remember, you need 150,000 jobs each month just to account for population increases. The unemployment rate is failing to show what the other unemployment statistics clearly show: a bad job market that's getting worse.

"NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. manufacturers may finally be close to adding jobs after 42 straight months of layoffs, a survey suggested on Monday, but they also face pricing pressures that could squeeze profits." May finally be getting close. Great news, guys.

Posted by: Dwayne Besuden at March 2, 2004 at 04:37 AM

Let's put a bit of perspective on this: http://jobsearchtech.about.com/library/weekly/aa122099b.htm

If we measure "low" as something relative to previous years, that CNN report isn't that bias.

If we look at the jobless rate before Bush takes office and compare it to now... several million people are without jobs that had them before. Of course, one could always argue "high and low" are meaningless words and trends really matter. Jobs isn't an area "trending" well for Bush.

Look, if we're going to be taken seriously, the right needs to stop sniping about the media. We really sound like idiots. The same way the left does when it comes to defense.

Posted by: Mike at March 2, 2004 at 04:48 AM

Dwayne - check your math - Bush in office Jan 2001 until today = 37 months. Manufacturing job losses extend to the last 5 months of Clinton administration. How did ANY policy decision by GWB have ANY influence on that?? Answer = zero. The bubble had burst before Jan 2001.

Great news Huh?

If you are asking for honesty from conservative side, how about you? Or isn't this in your CNN talking points?

Posted by: Kevin at March 2, 2004 at 04:52 AM

You fail to take into account the small business start-ups by those who are no longer looking for work. My family is one of those. Wife's position (mid management) was eliminated last fall. Unemployment ran out (she did have a nice vacation tho.) Started a small business. Life is great - however, technically, she is still listed as unemployed and not rehired. . . not exactly an accurate picture.


Posted by: Mike at March 2, 2004 at 04:53 AM

What, you were expecting consistency from the media? You can't even get consistency from Clinton's director of National Economic Council Gene Sperling[now works for the Center for American "Progress", a "non-partisan" think tank].

06/09/1997 Washington Post

Myth No. 4: The deficit is balanced only for a nanosecond.

Another myth is that the budget achieves balance for an instant, then immediately returns to deficit. That's plain wrong. The budget agreement achieves balance in 2002 and then goes into a surplus of $ 5 billion in 2003 that grows to $ 34 billion in 2007. Now that we have balanced the budget, we must tackle the generational imbalance we face -- particularly in the areas of long-term Medicare and Social Security reform. This agreement, however, is a crucial step to prepare for the retirement of the baby-boom generation.

02/14/2000 Washington Post

With African American and Hispanic child poverty rates still disgracefully high, we have both an economic and moral imperative to use a good portion of our hard-won savings to attack child poverty and increase education and training while continuing the debt reduction and low interest rates to keep providing economic opportunity for all Americans.

03/20/2001 Boston Globe

Therefore, there is reason to fear that it is more than coincidental that since Vice President Cheney made headlines in early December by claiming we were on the front edge of a recession, expectations about the future have fallen a whopping 32 percent, even though confidence about present circumstances are high and have fallen only 8 percent. Indeed, the difference between overall consumer confidence and expectations for the future is the largest since 1973.

Since Cheney's initial warning bell, President Bush has repeatedly sought to send out the same dark message. He continually used the bully pulpit to describe his tax cut as needed to make sure our economy does not go into a tailspin. In his State of the Union address, while he mentioned that two pictures could be painted of the United States, he led his address speaking about warning signs, increasing layoffs, and rising energy prices without a single reassuring word about the current economy.

By my count Gene Sperling is an economical opportunistic commentator. His prediction of a declining deficit going away in a nanosecond as false came true. His prediction of fiscal irresponsibility with a surplus as false came true. His assessment of Cheney and Bush as telling the truth about the economy as damaging to consumer confidence was entirely true.

I guess that when you work for and advised the smoothest cat to ever hold the White House telling the truth wouldn't get you a job with the Center for American "Progress". Of course Gene Sperling is consistent. He's consistently WRONG!

Posted by: Brennan Stout at March 2, 2004 at 04:58 AM

What happens when the unemployment rate falls below the theoretical structural unemployment rate of 5-6%? Is it a good thing?

When the rate was about 4% I took my car in to have the brakes adjusted. The head mechanic said he didn't want the kids he had on duty that day to work on them. Apparently, they could barely manage oil changes.

The inexorable law of supply & demand cuts both ways in the labor market. When labor supply is tight, incompetents are hired at high wages and perform to the level of their ability. In the short term this is not necessarily a good thing when it comes to auto brakes.

Posted by: Hudson at March 2, 2004 at 05:00 AM


While you're at it, please explain for the rest of us the cost of labor (esp. gov't. imposed costs); it's relationship to the unemployment/employment rate; how that applies to labor markets in western Europe; and how John Forbes Kerry or any Democrat (I don't care, pick any of them) would fix all that so the jobs market rebounds.

Blaming Bush for the business cycle and the unfortunate effects of 9/11 is easy.

Extra points if you can show how tax increases (which all Democrat candidates promise) and deficit reduction (which no Democrat candidates speak to) lead to IMMEDIATE stimulation of the job market. Double extra points for showing how curtailing free trade agreements lead to IMMEDIATE stimulation of the job market.

Don't worry, take your time.

We'll wait.

Posted by: Tim at March 2, 2004 at 05:01 AM


The unemployment rate is falling because the HOUSEHOLD survey is used to calculate the unemployment rate, not because people are giving up. According to the Household jobs survey, almost 2 million NET new jobs have been created under Dubbya. "How can this be??" asks CNN. He CAN'T have created JOBS. There must be some mistake.

The main difference between Household and Payroll surveys? The household survey takes into account independant contractors and those who start their own business. These people are employed, but do not show up on the Payroll survey.

It just BURNS when facts get in the way, doesn't it Dwayne?

Posted by: Bryan at March 2, 2004 at 05:06 AM

Bill forgets one thing w/Bubba v. W.

So, Bill, how many millions of people have we added since 2001?

Do you think that might make a difference?

There's also an argument that w/the tax cuts, more SAHM decided to find a job because pay was more attractive.

Posted by: Sandy P. at March 2, 2004 at 05:11 AM

You're parsing words and playing "gotcha" while ignoring the real danger to the President.

These are the national unemployment rates for the past few election years:

1992 - 7.4%
1996 - 5.4%
2000 - 4%

And now 5.6%, a significant increase when only about 500,000 votes separated Bush and Gore in 2000. Whether or not low unemployment rates are good for the economy, people who had jobs under Clinton and don't under Bush are probably of one opinion about it.

Posted by: Nels Nelson at March 2, 2004 at 05:15 AM

Also, Dwayne and Bill need to start reading Bill Hobbs.

Check out the LLCs started in TN alone in 2003.

And one can make a wonderful argument against National Health Care when one realized that a lot of the uninsured are SBOs and making $50K and above who CHOOSE not to have health insurance.

Posted by: Sandy P. at March 2, 2004 at 05:15 AM

Here is a chart of the 10-year NASDAQ, and here is a chart of the 10-year GDP growth. Notice the tight overlaps during the contraction, and notice the fundamentals of the last ~18 months.

Everything you need to know about the economy:

-the bubble rose and burst on Clinton's watch

-the collapse was accompanied by a decline from 7% growth to 1% growth, followed by a small bounce then a quarter of negative growth, and then another small bounce (all of that occurred under Clinton)

-the 'official' recession started during Bush's first quarter (also Clinton's last quarter), with two consecutive quarters of negative growth, but it clearly began much earlier

-the 'official' recession ended in Q4 of 2001, but the bubble continued collapsing into Q3 of 2002; we did not start real growth until the bubble had finished contracting back to 1996/1997 levels

-we are at the 14-month point in the real recovery, and job creation usually kicks in at the 12-18 month window, and we are right on schedule; expect +200k jobs every month from May forward, assuming there is no other major blow to the economy.

-Bush policies eased the recession (indeed, we had positive GDP growth while the bubble continued to contract), and have facilitated a strong recovery. Low capital taxes, low interest rates, and low exchange rates combined in a very powerful mix.

In sum, the Democrats don't have much of an argument against Bush's handling of the economy, given the mess that he inherited. What they can complain about (to their base anyway) is that Bush did not do enough to ease the pain and suffering of the people whose jobs were destroyed in the bubble's contraction. My personal opinion is that those kinds of policies are why Europe is suffering so much (paying their people not to work, redistributing [aka, destroying] capital, etc), and we should not be following their lead. Bleeding hearts have different beliefs, of course.

Posted by: Ursus at March 2, 2004 at 05:27 AM

Bryan, the facts are clearly burning you, as Bush. The loss of jobs is real and clear. The job statistics, taken as a whole, show an extremely weak job market. The length of time people spend on the unemployment rolls makes this abundantly clear.

Only partisans are claiming the job market is strong. There are people who have left the job market out of frustration, and some who prefer to call themselves "self-employed" rather than unemployed, but the weakness of the job market shows up in statistic after statistic.

If the job market were strong as you claim, and people are able to work for themselves at decent rates, salaries would be rising quickly. Instead, we see flat salaries. The payroll data tell truth, which the voters see and feel.

Posted by: Dwayne Besuden at March 2, 2004 at 05:27 AM

Those that are screeching the "sky is falling" are either economically ignorant or politically motivated liars. Very simple. Hmmm, let's see "millions of jobs lost" from the peak of an economic bubble that by any economic analysis was not sustainable....nor SHOULD it have been sustained for the long term health of our nation. Yes, a bubble mania is the standard by which we judge success in the economy. Uhhh huh.

Posted by: ken at March 2, 2004 at 05:49 AM

I am enjoying watching Dwayne hold his ears and scream "I'm not LISTENING!!!!" - anyone else?

Posted by: Deoxy at March 2, 2004 at 05:59 AM

Dwayne Besuden

According to the BLS there are ~2 million more employed workers in 2003 than there were in 2000.

The job loss has to be parsed to reflect factual evidence. Manufacturing jobs have been lost. That statement is true.

What I would like liberals to explain is why they love more government workers while hating privatisation. Then they love payroll employees as a product of giganto corporate privatisation and start hating the "self employed" privatisation. I guess the next in line for liberal hatred are government workers assuming the future White House increases the government labor force. This last statement is only reflective if there is a Republican in the big house though.

Posted by: Brennan Stout at March 2, 2004 at 06:01 AM

Don't forget Krugman saying the lowest sustainable unemployment rate was 5.5% to 6% -- and using this to lambast the stupid illogic of the "four percenters" who wanted to target 4% economic growth.

Because five years of 4% economic growth would reduce the unemployment rate to an obviously impossible 1.5%.

This being just before the economy experienced 4% growth for five years. ;-)


To top it off, he used the lesson he administered here to illustrate why he was an "irritating economist" in the minds of so many.

That being: He applies rigorous thinking, logic and models to determine the *truth*, and he has the character to tell it -- which of course is very irritating to logicless fools like the "four percenters" who just believe what they want to believe.

Posted by: Jim Glass at March 2, 2004 at 06:01 AM
Yes, a bubble mania is the standard by which we judge success in the economy. Uhhh huh.

ken: Show me JAMES CARVILLE/PAUL BEGALA! I'm waiting for the first pundit to say "What terrorist attack on 9/11?".

Posted by: Brennan Stout at March 2, 2004 at 06:06 AM

I nailed this lame argument a month ago.

Posted by: Jay at March 2, 2004 at 06:06 AM

Whether the bubble level was sustainable, and whose fault it is for the employment picture, is a different question. But the employment picture today is far worse from what it was at 5.6% a few years ago. The voters know this, and Bush is too smart to claim that getting a job (or a raise) is as easy today as it was in 1996.

Posted by: Dwayne Besuden at March 2, 2004 at 06:19 AM

Are employers hiring like crazy, just calling them "contractors" instead of "employees"?


Posted by: Dwayne Besuden at March 2, 2004 at 06:26 AM

The government jobs figures are wrong. Read Virginia Postrel's article in the NYT magazine 2/22/04. The feds says there are 30,000 manicurists. Somehow the states think there are 56,000 nail salons, most with a number of employees. Same goes for massage therapists. These two professions account for 500,000 missing jobs.

Posted by: Chester Whit at March 2, 2004 at 07:18 AM

For a good time, check out the BLS statistics pages here. You can play with the numbers all day.

The gap between household and payroll employment is interesting. Apparently only about 25 percent of the discrepancy is due to self-employment.

Posted by: tbrosz at March 2, 2004 at 07:25 AM

There is one way the CNN spin is justified (although not mentioning the fact opens them to the criticism we see):
unlike under Clinton in 1996, the discouraged job-seekers not counted among the "unemployed" is now much higher; in that sense, the unemployment rate is worse now.


Posted by: Orson Olson at March 2, 2004 at 07:47 AM

Not only are independent contractors and home business owners and other entrepreneurs drastically under-represented in the government's official employment statistics, but I would argue that these unacknowledged jobs are much better jobs. Not necessarily because they pay more than traditional jobs (although they often do), but because they are much more responsive to opportunities and consumer demands.

I happen to work for a giant corporation, which is constantly launching new management initiatives in an effort to better connect to the marketplace, reduce costs, increase productivity, etc., etc. It's not easy, because a large company has a lot of inertia and a big overhead structure which burdens its costs and limits its competitiveness. "Big" and "nimble" don't go together very well. My company actually does quite well, but it faces a constant struggle to keep from becoming obsolete.

My wife and my daughter each run their own home businesses, advertising over the Internet. They have invented products, created markets, and innovated in a whole host of different ways. Ten years ago, maybe even five years ago, they couldn't have done it; the Internet infrastructure wasn't developed enough. Now they are filling unmet demands and satisfying customers who didn't even know such products existed. In a year or two they could become wealthy (or at least extremely well compensated) if their respective business take off as it appears they might.

The United States' economy is much healthier and more robust because of all the self-employed entrepreneurs who are not tied down by old assumptions and ossified business structures. And government statistics which fail to capture this vibrancy are worse than useless.

Posted by: Daniel Wiener at March 2, 2004 at 07:52 AM

I for one, am married to a millionare because she was laid off in the '90s and 'had' to start her own business. Self employment is not the end of the world for the people involved, trouble is, when someone becomes responsible for themselves, they become Republican, if they weren't already, as in our case.

Posted by: slf at March 2, 2004 at 07:53 AM

Once again, it is shown how the moronic liberal media corrupt every single thing they report.

They don't say that the recession started under Clinton, they won't say Kerry is a bankrupt (morally) liberal who voted time and time again to make this country weaker in the military and intelligence and who takes lobbyist money but condemns it, and they won't say that the Democrats have absolutely no plan to do anything except to beat George W. Bush.

I have said it once and I will say it again: a vote for John Kerry and the Democrats this November is a vote to sign the surrender papers to Osama bin Laden.

Posted by: James Parker at March 2, 2004 at 07:59 AM

You liberals are totally stupid and wrong. Bush's economy is creating millions of new manufacturing jobs at McDonalds and Burger King right now! The proud employees of those companies don';t have Helath Insurance becasue they DON't WANT IT! It is obvious to anyone with half a brain that liberal media that hand-held the public through the Iraq war - and credulously reported every rumor fed to it by the administration - is trying to ruin our greatest president by painting him as a loser on jobs. If it was not for Bush, the stock market would not be blistering hot. I just wish I made enough money in my programming job to afford to buy some stock - since my employer froze out matching funds for our 401K. In any case, I am proud to support George Bush.

What do the Demoncrpas have anyway? No ideas and stupid ideas. They want a national healthcare system - what communists. Some of them did not want us to go into Iraq - stupid liberals. They want to repeal bush's tax cuts - and repeal the astounding growth along with it. they want to add all kinds of costly rgulations to industry - what are they? Communistic simpletons.

We don't need any sort of communistic national Healthcare plan. Private industry is already providing a great service at a low price. I don't mind my premiums going up by 250% every year while my deductible grows faster than my salary. I know that when I need service, I can find at least 1 doctor within 150 miles that my PPo will work with.

We needed to attack Iraq. obviously Saddam Hussein hid all his weapons really well - but I know we will find them - and those liberals will be sorry. Besides, soon all that iraqi oil will be flowing to the pumps - and our gas will get cheaper and cheaper.

Why do those liberals want to repeal the tax cuts? i don't know. I think they just hate average Americans and they hate that Geroge Bush gave us back our money so that we could spend it how we saw fit. i used mine to pay for my property tax - it was able to pay off a good 40% of that. Our liberal governor had the gaul to increase our property taxes - just to mess up President Bush's plans. My friends, the liberals are destroying America.

They moan about deficits - well, duh - the deficits will be gone in a few years after we are all made rich by astounding growth. They moan about a sinking dollar. They seem to think that the increased crude oil costs becasue of poor dollar conversion will dull the incredible economic boast the shareholders of American exporters get. I mean, come on - when those expporters move their businesses to India, they are saving a ton of money - which translates to more Hummers and more Rolexs at home!

Liberal hate America cause they don't like anyone to be free. They want us all to moan about how horrible everything is - when in fact - compared to Haiti, our country is doing fantasitcally.

you see, it's all relative!

GWBush in 2004!

Big Brother in 2008!

Posted by: SCOTT FANETTI at March 2, 2004 at 08:05 AM

The phony benchmark behind CNN's jobs spin is the unsustainably high employment numbers produced by the Fed-generated artificial boom of the late 1990's -- with businesses in a frenzy to anyone and everyone for jobs which had no chance of being permanent. The best explanation of this artificial Fed-generated boom and bust comes from economist Roger Garrison.

Posted by: PrestoPundit at March 2, 2004 at 08:15 AM


Going to your Reuters' story, I noticed the following quote:

'Chicago Fed President Michael Moskow expects "very strong" job growth in 2004, though economic slack, which means fairly high unemployment and unused factory capacity, could persist for "some time."

Two things here: First, "very strong" job growth is expected in 2004. If this means 200k/month is yet to be seen, but it certainly means something. However, we've been seeing strong showings in the manufacturing sector over the past nine months. This is only one example, but the unemployment trend has been downward. Economic growth has been strong and constant. I don't see any reason for the unemployment rate not to decrease.

Second, the reporter refers to 5.6% unemployment as "fairly high unemployment." Your arguement is that the unemployment rate is an unimportant indicator because it fails to account for an "extremely weak job market." Fair enough, please show me then the quantifiable data which is able to distinguish job seekers and those who have given up. What can you present to prove to me that the jobs being created are significantly worse, in pay, benefits, etc... matched to a reliable index? Could you please explain to me how jobs being created for the long term (as it seems reasonable to assume) are worse than those created in a bubble?

I will admit that the job situation looks worse than in 2000, but remember that Bush managed to beat Gore, despite that economy. John Kerry is not the successor to Clinton. This economy is not bad enough to give him a decisive edge over Bush, and I don't see this being the tipping point for independents.

Posted by: sobotkaj at March 2, 2004 at 08:20 AM

That's why it's called CNN - Clinton News Network...

Posted by: Roger Bournival at March 2, 2004 at 08:46 AM

In January 2004, there were 2,428 mass layoff actions by employers, as measured by new filings for unemployment insurance benefits during the month, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. Each action involved at least 50 persons from a single establishment, and the number of workers involved totaled 239,454. (See table 1.) This marked the most events for a January and the third highest January level of mass-layoff initial claims since the series began. Both the number of layoff events and initial claims were higher than a year ago. January 2004 marked only the third time in the last two years that initial claims had increased over the year.


A decade ago, Roger Labunski assumed he would continue pulling in $100,000 or better each year. Lately he has been lowering his sights — a lot. He has been out of work for 18 months. He gave up his home in a divorce, sold many possessions, borrowed money from relatives and still ended up filing for bankruptcy. He now lives in a rental loft near Decatur. "I have given up on a full-time job," Labunski said. "I have to reinvent myself."

In the past three years, unemployment has jumped from 5.7 million to 8.3 million. Some jobless people, especially during hard times, go many months searching for work — but that group has rarely been so large for so long. About 650,000 of the jobless in 2000 were out of work six months or longer. Now, about 1.9 million Americans — 23 percent of the jobless — have been unemployed for more than six months. Most lost their jobless benefits after 26 weeks; some had a 13-week extension.


"People think that if you don't have a job, it's because you are not looking," said Athena Jones, 38, of Stone Mountain, who says she has done little else. Previously a human resources professional for a medical device company, Jones has been out of work for 18 months.


Posted by: Dwayne Besuden at March 2, 2004 at 10:26 AM

Self-employed computer programmer Thomas Mooney -- who bills himself as the "president/janitor" of his Minneapolis company, TeleProc -- said he cannot last much longer with so little work in an industry that was once booming.

"I'm barely employed -- no income yet this year," Mooney said. "I have $7,000 in future prospect business and that is all I know about for the rest of the year."

Mooney, a 52-year-old father of two teenage boys, is convinced the job market is even bleaker than official figures suggest, since he and other idled independent contractors do not collect unemployment benefits and thus are never counted among the unemployed.

"If I had to put a label on myself, it would be 'severely underemployed,'" he said. "And the market is still getting worse rather than better, as far as I can see."


I'm sure that they are the exception, and the millionaire self-employed/independent contractors are the rule.

Posted by: Dwayne Besuden at March 2, 2004 at 10:37 AM

The unemployment rate (either survey type) doesn't include those who have stopped looking for work and doesn't note when people are significantly underemployed. This causes significant flaws in a long-term poor economy, when people either give up looking for jobs or take jobs well below their previous salaries because they've been out of work too long to survive.

Posted by: Random Guy at March 2, 2004 at 10:39 AM

2.5 million manufacturing jobs lost since Bush took office.

If I have $100 but you take $50 then give me back $25, that doesn't make me rich.

Posted by: Mike G at March 2, 2004 at 10:45 AM

Wow, some really ridiculous comments above. I especially like all the name calling and finger pointing, reminds me of kindergarden. Especially loved the taunts of commies and signinging a surrender letter to OBL. If you are one of the above, take a chill and remember what your parents (hopefully) taught you- no one will listen to you unless you are polite and certainly no one will change their minds unless you treat them with respect. I wanted to learn something here, but frnkly gave up after a while. That said, finger pointing (problem started under Clinton, etc) is sort of besides the point- the post wanted posts relating to the media potential fudging of numbers. And to paint teh media as Liberal in this day in age is getting a tad silly. So where does that lead us? The media says it, not nessasarily because it is true, but because people want to hear it. And where does that lead us? (No we wont be signing surrender papers - whatev)
Oh, and who ever thinks that people dont want health insurance should think twice. I have a family member in the hospital for the forseeable future and we would be bust without it. A canard I tell you!

Posted by: Max at March 2, 2004 at 10:51 AM

It's very interesting to me that you criticize the "liberals" for viewing statistics through tinted lenses. Did you pause to think about the statistics you chose to quote?

When Clinton's mid-presidency numbers were termed "low", it was because that administration had, in 4 years, managed to recover the unemployment rate from the Reagan/Bush era.

What followed is missing from your original post: The unemployment rate continued to drop. A brief glance at statistics from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics will show you that the average unemployment rate for 1999 was 4.2, a full percentage point and a half lower (i.e. about 30 million people) than the 5.6 number you quote.

Then, after only one year in office, the Bush Administration, Part II, had managed to turn that trend around completely and it was back UP to the mid-five percent level.

The values are quoted as being "low" or "high" because these are what we call "relative terms". In this case, the numbers are lower or higher than they had been previously. In Clinton's case, it was an improvement to get the numbers to that point, and that trend continued throughout is administration. In Bush's case, it was a drastically worse number when compared with the rates of only a couple of years ago.

In short, it doesn't do any good to say "that dress was fifty dollars off!" when it cost $4500 to begin with.

Perhaps next time, you'll notice things like this in the media and wonder what it was that made them say it, or say it that way, rather than jumping to your own conclusions.

But then again, you probably won't.

Posted by: Thinman at March 2, 2004 at 10:54 AM

Another way to look at this is based on reality. If there is 5 percent unemployment, then that means 95 percent of the working-able are working.

If anyone can remember math, try this on for size: suppose there is 275 million people living in the United States. Let's say 200 million of them are able to work. 5 percent of that 200 million is not working, but 95 percent of that 200 million is.

200,000,000 times .95 equals 190,000,000 working Americans. That's 190 million working Americans. That leaves 10 million without jobs.

Now that 10 million able to work may not be working because they are either retired, still in school, or just enjoy collecting the extended weeks of unemployment because they are too lazy to go find any job.

My numbers are a bit outlandish, but just the other day someone stated the obvious for the first time: we have a quarter of a billion people living in this country. That's honestly the first time I heard anyone express the United States like that. If there is 95 percent employment for those old enough to work in a country with a quarter billion people, then that's saying something.

And face reality: there is no real true such thing as 100 percent employment. That's a pipe dream that people with left leaning views should stop smoking.

Posted by: CasperKnightshade at March 2, 2004 at 11:26 AM

Are all Americans really this dumb and short sighted ? 5.7 % unemployment? Does anyone here actually know how those statistics are calculated (and collected), and how certain groups are excluded from those statistics? Its damn crazy you lot even think that you have 5.7% unemployment.. get a brain, look at the realities of the very large, and growing lower class of people you have in your society. And of course, these statitistics happily include all the 'impoverished' labour that so blindly goes on.. What about working for unemployment? How the hell can you say someone is unemployed when they are working for the unemployment payments??!!! you lot are mad!!?? Im really very disappointed that such a society can even hope to think they are doing so well when in excess of 3 million of your fellow human beings are living off the streets, oh, and because of that, they arent included in the unemployed.. well done united states.. its great to see that your BS marketing flows throughout your own community as well as the rest of the world..

Posted by: Dave at March 2, 2004 at 11:31 AM

It's likely that CNN wrote editorials on with the intent to give democrats a push, but criticism itself is hardly unfounded.

These so called stimulants to the economy are coming at the expense of a massive deficit, as did the multiple wars fought recently.
Given that president bush has sacrificed a GREAT deal of national credit in the name of artificially raising economic growth and lowering unemployment, those are poor figures.

Growth is unsustainable if it rests on the back of deficits. No one is suggesting a balanced budget approach, but you can't set the equilibrium relying on those "loans", which is what being done. Wars aside, bush's fiscal policy would in itself ensure debts. It seems like this is in the name of raising commonly quoted figures to desirable levels to ensure a second term in office. Sustainability isn't something that can be given a value, and isn't something the public will give much consideration to, but it is something that matters more than any of the marginal improvements in the other figures. Don't be suprised if a certain alan greenspan has something to say of this shortly before the next federal election. He certainly did before bush sr would have been set to serve his second consecutive term, and it undoubtedly had a powerful effect on the results.

Posted by: Some Guy at March 2, 2004 at 11:34 AM

Where did the number for the 5.6%, 5.7%, etc. come from?? I remember the 7% under Carter and it seemed we had more jobs then than now. How many of those jobs counted are poverty level types? I see many couples working on two poverty jobs to pay their rent and meet the necessities of their families. I also see many people with family members at home with them, as they can’t find work. These polls don’t reflect the true economy. Our economy is like a huge tanker. When the motor stops, it is carried many miles with just the kinetic energy it had stored while under way. When it does stop, it takes a long time to regain the ground lost. Americans are about to see many things stop. Local governments are hurting so bad they are having their enforcement groups give citations for things like having garbage out too early. One woman in Dallas put her trash out; the garbage collectors didn’t come by to get it, and the code enforcement officer cited her with a $250 fine. I saw the New York City groups doing the same thing. What happens when those people simply say, “Put me in jail, I can’t pay the fine!”. Whose going to pay for those incarcerated when that happens?

Posted by: Bob at March 2, 2004 at 11:36 AM

Where did the number for the 5.6%, 5.7%, etc. come from?? I remember the 7% under Carter and it seemed we had more jobs then than now. How many of those jobs counted are poverty level types? I see many couples working on two poverty jobs to pay their rent and meet the necessities of their families. I also see many people with family members at home with them, as they can’t find work. These polls don’t reflect the true economy. Our economy is like a huge tanker. When the motor stops, it is carried many miles with just the kinetic energy it had stored while under way. When it does stop, it takes a long time to regain the ground lost. Americans are about to see many things stop. Local governments are hurting so bad they are having their enforcement groups give citations for things like having garbage out too early. One woman in Dallas put her trash out; the garbage collectors didn’t come by to get it, and the code enforcement officer cited her with a $250 fine. I saw the New York City groups doing the same thing. What happens when those people simply say, “Put me in jail, I can’t pay the fine!”. Whose going to pay for those incarcerated when that happens?

Posted by: Bob at March 2, 2004 at 11:36 AM

Where did the number for the 5.6%, 5.7%, etc. come from?? I remember the 7% under Carter and it seemed we had more jobs then than now. How many of those jobs counted are poverty level types? I see many couples working on two poverty jobs to pay their rent and meet the necessities of their families. I also see many people with family members at home with them, as they can’t find work. These polls don’t reflect the true economy. Our economy is like a huge tanker. When the motor stops, it is carried many miles with just the kinetic energy it had stored while under way. When it does stop, it takes a long time to regain the ground lost. Americans are about to see many things stop. Local governments are hurting so bad they are having their enforcement groups give citations for things like having garbage out too early. One woman in Dallas put her trash out; the garbage collectors didn’t come by to get it, and the code enforcement officer cited her with a $250 fine. I saw the New York City groups doing the same thing. What happens when those people simply say, “Put me in jail, I can’t pay the fine!”. Whose going to pay for those incarcerated when that happens?

Posted by: Bob at March 2, 2004 at 11:37 AM

"The unemployment rate continued to drop. A brief glance at statistics from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics will show you that the average unemployment rate for 1999 was 4.2, a full percentage point and a half lower (i.e. about 30 million people) than the 5.6 number you quote."

I assumed that something like that happened during the time between reports. Thanks, you saved me from doing the research. :)

I only wish some of the people around here would also go to the effort of finding some facts before flying off the handle.

Posted by: Rachel at March 2, 2004 at 11:38 AM

There is no doubt that the economy is worse off in this presidential cycle than it was in Clinton's. As for the unemployment rate being "low" at 5.7% or "high" at 5.7% most of you are right, it is arbitrary. Like Thinman previously posted, 5.7% was a considerable improvement during the Clinton era and the 5.7% was worse during the Bush era.

However, the other reason that the economy is worse during the Bush administration is due to the number people that have taken themselves out of the job market. The unemployment rate only measures people who are actively looking for jobs, so while the unemployment rate improved over the last year, a large part of that was due to the fact so many people either a)found a job or b)quit looking. SO, the people in class B contributed to the unemployment rate improvements.

And in a direct response to WAYNE, while I agree with you on Bush's Social policies, I also disagree with his tax cuts. I am a young man who will suffer as I get older. As a country, we cannot continue to spend on everything from Military to Health Care and continue to cut taxes. The cut taxes and spend borrowed money only works for so long before someone has to pay the piper. Unfortunately, it will be me and my young family.

Posted by: SlimMan at March 2, 2004 at 11:41 AM

"The unemployment rate only measures people who are actively looking for jobs, so while the unemployment rate improved over the last year, a large part of that was due to the fact so many people either a)found a job or b)quit looking. SO, the people in class B contributed to the unemployment rate improvements."

That's not a valid criticism. That has been true for every instance when the unemployment rate has been measured. There's no conclusive evidence to support the belief that a higher proportion of people have "stopped looking" lately. There are other reasons, but that's not one of them. Discouraged workers are a means of proving that all unemployment rates are understated, not in arguing that it was more prominent in one year versus another.

Posted by: Some Guy at March 2, 2004 at 11:47 AM

This is quite amusing, first off, statics are never right or wrong, they can be made into any arguement you want to. And because i dont have time to look any up, i wont use any of them. Unemployment... my dad is a carpenter, one of those jobs that usually determines how the economy is doing becuase when times are good, people will pay for a new kitchen, but when they aint, people dont. This shows lots of trends, when people are buying kitchens they are either selling their house or have bought a new one (not always but usually). Since housing is the biggest investment most Americans will ever purchase this has a lot to do with how the economy is doing, at least for the middle class, who do most of the house buying, getting laid off, and voting in this country. So my dad is busy, really busy, booked for the next year, because people are buying kitchens. Grant it this is kinda a simple arguement for most of you who are quoting statics that only the people polling know what they are talking about, but when people sell and buy houses the economy is usually doing well.

9/11 was the biggest economic hit in Americas history. Why did 9/11 happen, partly cause too much gov't money was going to the economy, reducing unemployment to 4% or whatever it was then, and not enough to military and intel, and partly because Americans were busy arguing the constutionality of stoping the vote counting in Flordia, and who was really the Pres. to see any kind of threat to our way of life. Consequently thousands of Americans died in a terrorist attack against us, so maybe we should shift some attention away from the economy towards the terrorist who just killed many of your neighbors, maybe your mom, dad, or just friend.

So you women complaining about your rights, thank Pres. Bush for not only liberating but also saving millions of women's lives. You people complaining about being laid off from your nice office job, go get a real/different job, work some consturction, start a business, try being more than some yesman that didnt really need a job in the first place. People complaing about the nation not being able to get a raise. Hmmm for you to get paid more the company has to make more, which means they charge more, which means when you get more, it will only level you back off at what you used to be, if you want more money, prove yourself worthy of a promotion, not call your local union to get a raise. Again to you job loosers, learn a new trade, get this... join the military. Maybe if you learned how great the country you are fighting for is, you would appreciate the ability to even live here, much less work here.

This opinion is a personal view from an 18 year old college freshman. Your right i dont remember all to much from your pasts, or past presidents, but instead of looking back, look foreward, the people looking back are missing what is going on now, the people looking foreward are fixing the problems.

Posted by: Silas at March 2, 2004 at 12:01 PM

Don't mean to rain on your parade, but the actual statsitics tell a different story:

Posted by: Your Mom at March 2, 2004 at 12:06 PM

Casper KnightShade said: Now that 10 million able to work may not be working because they are either retired, still in school, or just enjoy collecting the extended weeks of unemployment because they are too lazy to go find any job.

I, for one, would like to poke Casper right in the eye, because I am one of those 'made-up number' unemployed, and it is not for any of those reasons listed. It's because no one will hire me, even for positions way under my potential.

Posted by: Mark at March 2, 2004 at 12:15 PM

What I don't understand in all of this debate over the unemployment rate is why don't people include a discussion of the following issues:

1) What type of jobs exist which influence this rate? The issue is not just the rate of unemployment, it is far more complicated than this.

2) Where is the discussion about the high amount of consumer debt which is higher than ever and looms ominously as a threat to this economy?

Posted by: Greg at March 2, 2004 at 12:18 PM

American news corporations are worthless, thats why.

Posted by: steven phares at March 2, 2004 at 12:21 PM

If you're wandering where all the retards in this thread came from, Fark.com linked to it.

Posted by: Source of Tards at March 2, 2004 at 12:36 PM

Dwayne Besuden:

"Pretty simple, unless you are a knee-jerk partisan."

Or actually know something about economics.

"If the job market were strong, there would be (a) plenty of jobs, and (b) quickly rising wages - we have neither."

Quickly rising wages will inevitably lead to inflation unless productivity increases or jobs are outsourced overseas. Wage increases commensurate to inflation is the goal, not “quickly rising wages.” The last thing that any government (or population) wants is 100% employment.

”Instead, we have an extremely weak labor market, and the first net loss of jobs of any administration since Herbert Hoover.”

Very interesting since the Department of Labor states that there are over 750,000 more jobs than there were in January of 2001 when President Bush took office. The media’s claim that two million jobs have been lost is referring to the increased number of people who are out of work, not the net jobs created. The difference is because the labor pool has expanded by three million since President Bush took office.

Posted by: Bildo at March 2, 2004 at 12:41 PM

Chris Josephson:
I am afraid you do not understand feminism. When a woman is appointed to a high-level position, it is not necessarily indicative of a feminist victory. Another example is Margaret Thatcher, she played the game of power politics quite beautifully, yet she did little that feminists would celebrate. Feminist theories vary widely, but most seek to improve life for ALL people, regardless of gender. I would argue that the militarization of society does not lead to an improved quality of life, for women, men, children, whoever. Furthermore, Clinton's attitudes toward women may have been deplorable, and I don't know of any feminists who would "go after" the women he allegedly harassed, unless they were criticizing Monica for merely seeking spotlight attention rather than trying to truly deal with the issue of harassment. Please, Chris, do not fling anti-feminist rhetoric unless you understand the diverse theoretical implications of feminism.

Posted by: steph at March 2, 2004 at 12:46 PM


Greatest sustained job loss since the Great Depression
Since the recession began 34 months ago in March 2001, 2.4 million jobs have disappeared, a 1.8% contraction. The Bureau of Labor Statistics began collecting monthly jobs data in 1939 (at the end of the Great Depression). In every previous episode of recession and job decline since 1939, the number of jobs had fully recovered to above the pre-recession peak within 31 months of the start of the recession. Today's labor market would have an additional 3.88 million jobs if jobs had grown by the 0.7% rate that occurred in the early 1990s recession and so-called "jobless recovery," the worst record prior to this current period. The picture is bleaker for private-sector jobs, which have dropped by 2.9 million since March 2001, a 2.5% contraction.

Posted by: Typhonus at March 2, 2004 at 01:00 PM

eh, lets face it. bush sucks. havent had a good president in years and it'll be years till we have a good one. dems and reps are full of shit.

Posted by: eatme at March 2, 2004 at 01:00 PM

Mountains/Molehills. All this from some reporter's lame attempt at making the job numbers interesting before deadline.

Posted by: Ed Bear at March 2, 2004 at 01:03 PM

Is it possible that they treated Clinton’s number as low, because it was right after a recession? They treat Bush’s number as high because it’s after an economic boom? For instance, if I’m unemployed, then get a job paying $6 an hr, I’d feel like I was swimming in dough, but if I had a job earning $12 an hr, then went to the $6 job, I’d feel poorer.

I'd agree that it's all relative, but I'd say it's relative based on the economy, not the president.

Posted by: B. Wynder at March 2, 2004 at 01:04 PM

It is not all relative and to spin it as simple relativism betrays a brand of journalism that is, to say the least, a shade of jaune.

The problem is in the actual definition of the unemployment rate, which is not the same as the colloquial assumption of that definition. The unemployment rate explicitly excludes those that have simply become not-employed, that is, they have given up. The common assumption is that the unemployment rate equals the percentage of the workforce that is not employed. That is not the case. Many perfectly employable individuals choose not to work, whether because they are independantly (or dependantly) wealthy, housewives or househusbands, students etc.. The current unemployment figures leave out those potential employees who have out of apathy exited the workforce and become, rather than unemployed, simply not-employed. They would very much like to work, but they have not been able to find work for in excess of 18 months, so they've given up and are now "not employed" but they are also not "unemployed." A thoughtful analysis of that fact would put this sort of journalism into the black and out of the yellow.

Posted by: John at March 2, 2004 at 01:05 PM

this poor weblog's comments script... :(

Posted by: Tommy at March 2, 2004 at 01:33 PM

Silas, I've been disappointed by most of the spelling, syntax and arguments in this post. I attributed most of it to ignorant, liberals, conservatives and voters. I disagree with alot of what I've read from both points of view. To see your post, professed to be representing our youth and future... with the misspellings, inappropriate grammer and basic lack of taste... made me sad for whichever future we have. Kerry (who I dislike and distrust) or Bush (who I feel has done a tremendous job lifting us out of Monica's panties and standing up to the Muslim radicals of the world), I hope the young generation that you pretend to represent can spell you're... and other "important" words.

Posted by: steve at March 2, 2004 at 01:52 PM

George Bush has done NOTHING for this economy. Half the people are still making below average income. Roughly 1 worker in every 10 is in the bottom 10 percent. These are ACTUAL VERIFIABLE STATISTICS!!! Clearly the liberals expect to do better than this.

Posted by: Joel at March 2, 2004 at 02:01 PM

what about health care? we still have a 100% mortality rate...and this is the most developed health care system in the world?

Posted by: Grant at March 2, 2004 at 02:12 PM

I hate people who REPRESENT FACTS WITHOUT EVER SITING ANY. Yet, they have the gall to announce them in capital letters. Where are the VERIFIABLE STATISTICS coming from???

Posted by: steve at March 2, 2004 at 02:13 PM

Joel, I'm a conservative, but you give the liberals all of the ammunition by being ignorant.

Posted by: steve at March 2, 2004 at 02:14 PM

Joel, where does your "data" come from"?

Posted by: steve at March 2, 2004 at 02:16 PM

Grant, do you ever see us moving away froma 100% mortality rate? Either you are a smart ass, or you are not very bright.
which is it?

Posted by: steve at March 2, 2004 at 02:17 PM

Oh Fark? I've debated with those folks before. They're game for Black Helicopter rides whenever they matriculate to the net. Sometimes they link to Zmag and call it "news".

If Fark wasn't mentioned I was going to suggest that some Paul Krugman army had linked to this site. A lot of these posts are straight out of the "The Great Unraveling". I forget, was that book about the NY Times?

Posted by: brennan stout at March 2, 2004 at 02:24 PM

Before you get too exicited about Joel and Grant's posts, they're yankin' your chain; just do the math.

"Half the people are still making below average income." The other half are making above average income.

"Roughly 1 worker in every 10 is in the bottom 10 percent." 1 in 10 IS 10 percent ... top, bottom or middle.

"we still have a 100% mortality rate" Duh! about every one of us is gonna die some day.

They're just pointing out how you can spin the most basic and obvious statistics and people get excited. These stats are verifiable because they're just based on the definition.

Posted by: Dale at March 2, 2004 at 02:40 PM


Although I appreciate the sentiment, in the future, please do not post criticisms of others' grammar and usage: you're barely literate yourself. Also, it should be abundantly clear that Grant and Joel and Scott Fanetti are all taking the piss and merely attempting to show the 'debate' contained on this puerile thread for the inane, uninformed, finger-pointing ranting by half-intelligent cretins that it is. I won't be checking this thread again, but I will leave all of you with this one piece of advice: don't be impressed or incensed by things you don't understand.

Posted by: nathan at March 2, 2004 at 03:14 PM

Statistics can be used to prove anything. 14% of all people know that.

Dubya '04!

Posted by: dubya04 at March 2, 2004 at 03:18 PM

Well you are all forgetting something, unemployment percentage come from a survey of company, which with time as become less and less acurate, since now more and more people work in small business which means they aren't calculated in the total. And don't forget that when a company file for bankruptcy they are taken off the survey. That's why the massive headcount reduction at Worldcom never appeared on any employment figure. If you want a good statistic about unemployment try the household survey, or the people who file for first time unemployement benefit, which is about 300 000 people a WEEK.

Posted by: Joe at March 2, 2004 at 03:33 PM

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics."

-Benjamin Disraeli

I would not read too much into the numbers folks.

My healthcare costs rose 30%, yet the highest average raise at my job went from 5% to 2%. That's a net LOSS of 33% in MY income. At this rate, I'll be in the breadline sooner than later. And that's if I HAVE a job till then.

Knowledge is gathered by many a hand,
Experiance is gathered by your own.

Only when one does not have experiance should one draw on knowledge.

Posted by: CappyCobra at March 2, 2004 at 03:43 PM

Bush is going to create new jobs! Just wait until he re-classifies "Burger Making" to "Manufacturing" and he'll get all the job growth he needs.

I can't wait until everyone in this country has a McJob or Wal-Job since that's all there is going to be if we keep this up.

Posted by: Diggity at March 2, 2004 at 03:45 PM

The number of intelligent journalists continues to climb to an all-time low of 5.6%.

Posted by: -b-nonymous at March 2, 2004 at 03:48 PM

My healthcare costs rose 30%, yet the highest average raise at my job went from 5% to 2%. That's a net LOSS of 33% in MY income. At this rate, I'll be in the breadline sooner than later. And that's if I HAVE a job till then.

Knowledge is gathered by many a hand,
Experiance is gathered by your own.

Only when one does not have experiance should one draw on knowledge.

Sorry, you're a moron. When your healthcare costs rise by a third, that does not mean it's taking a whole 1/3 off your income. That's simple math.

Posted by: MDV at March 2, 2004 at 04:12 PM

Somebody offered "extra points" to show how things could be done better. Read this 46 page document and learn something.
Trade Perspective

I'll be back for my points tommorrow :)

Posted by: puppet at March 2, 2004 at 04:17 PM

My jaw drops as I watch you mindless Fox news watching mental defects defend this administration on any issue, particularly economic policy and effectiveness in light of this fact:

Bush's chief economic adviser N. Gregory Mankiw recommends redefining fast food sector as a segment of the manufacturing sector .

This administration overtly fabricates and spins, and you sheepeople just keep on bleating.

God help America, we shall soon be known as the United States of Denial...

Now just think of how the inclusion of the Armed forces in the BLS employment numbers has skewed the unemployment statistics to the LOW side, and how the BLS withdrew its modeling definitions in late 2001. You think the economic numbers issued by this administration have any relation to reality beyond that fact that they are still called statistics (lies)? BTW, PhD Applied Economics (Econometrics).

Meg for President 2004, why not, at least I won't lie to you, unlike the current field of candidates. -

Posted by: Megan Graye at March 2, 2004 at 04:17 PM

i don't know about low or high but i do know that the unemployment rate isn't a good measure of misery because people go off the labor force after a while. its mostly a measure of labor market slack, ie. how much you have to accept your worker's demands.

Posted by: gcr at March 2, 2004 at 04:51 PM

Krugman has a PhD too, and he's also useless.

Posted by: Ursus at March 2, 2004 at 05:01 PM

I have to agree with greg. Work in the mortgage industry and though I am new to the business, it seems that a lot of people are pulling out equity in their houses to cover debts. Property values are starting to top out in a lot of markets too. Those two factors combined seem like trouble to me when property values start to fall.

Posted by: Tristram at March 2, 2004 at 05:03 PM


Please respond to the following two questions relevant to my point that this administration is overtly undermining the economic outlook before equivocating my observations as also useless:

Please pick any combination of the following options for each of the questions below:

The article I cite is:
a). inaccurate
b). incomplete
c). a malicious fabrication?
d). accurate
e). reputable

If you find the article does not demonstrate a factual instance of the overt manipulation by this administration then please characterize your state of mind:

a). dishonest
b). deluded/insane
c). ignorant
d). mentally challenged

Thank you for addressing the subject matter of my post and not dismissing me as useless until you've read the body of my work. BTW, have you ever hear of Jeffrey Sachs (a prime architect of privatization in the UK, Russia and much of South America)? You may wish to reserve your libel for an individual whose work you DO NOT respect.

Posted by: Megan Graye at March 2, 2004 at 05:20 PM

Megan Graye,

Which two questions?

Posted by: S Whiplash at March 2, 2004 at 05:46 PM

Question 1 - The article I cite is (in question form - "What terms would you use to characterise the article I cite above?"):
a). inaccurate
b). incomplete
c). a malicious fabrication?
d). accurate
e). reputable

Question 2 - If you find the article does not demonstrate a factual instance of the overt manipulation by this administration then please characterize your state of mind:

a). dishonest
b). deluded/insane
c). ignorant
d). mentally challenged

Posted by: Megan Graye at March 2, 2004 at 05:57 PM

Like the blind leading the blind.

Doesn't matter who they elect it'll be four more years of the same, and no mention of repealing or changing any of the idiotic moves made by this administration.

No mention has been made to the fact that our growth since 9-11 has been fueled more by war stocks, bonds, and equities. And that the real winners of that type of growth are already rich stock holders, and friends of key policy makers who get hot tips.

One person did notice local and state governments are hurting. That a new source of revenue has been found by fining local citizens for almost anything possible. If you don't believe check your local DUI arrest sheets and imagine how much the total fines add up to by year end in your county. Imagine a larger picture of the state, then all of America. The next big buisness will be a return to making our citizens the enemies so we can arrest them, fine them, and place them on supervision. Not slavery, but getting there.

Posted by: IXLNXS at March 2, 2004 at 05:57 PM

Megan Graye,

That's still only one question. Are you sure you want to continue making a fool of yourself?

Posted by: S Whiplash at March 2, 2004 at 06:17 PM

S Whiplash sweetie,

You are soooo perspicacious!!! You're brilliance has driven me to tears! For your benefit, since you cannot address the subject matter itself, I will phrase both of the items as questions... Now close your mouth and breathe through your nose so you can better concentrate on your answer.

Question 1 - The article I cite is (in question form - "What terms would you use to characterise the article I cite above?"):
a). inaccurate
b). incomplete
c). a malicious fabrication?
d). accurate
e). reputable

Question 2 - If you find the article does not demonstrate a factual instance of the overt manipulation by this administration then please characterize your state of mind (in question form - "If you find the article does not demonstrate a factual instance of the overt manipulation by this administration what would best describe your state of mind?"):

a). dishonest
b). deluded/insane
c). ignorant
d). mentally challenged



Posted by: Megan Graye at March 2, 2004 at 06:35 PM

How many drugs has Meg taken:

A> A lot
B> Many
C> Plenty
D> Not enough

Just keep using Liberal spin words like Sheepeople and Neo-Con and your Liberal masters will praise you again with another gold star.

I read the article, all it states is they were thinking about reclassifying it, They didnt actually do it because it was rather asinine, and, was pointed out as so by Mr. Chin..I mean Kerry himself.

Im sure YOUR administration has NEVER done anything like that to try and make themselves look good. Like, start a small pushbutton war to make everyone concentrate on it, instead of a blue dress.

Have a nice day.

Posted by: LEMental at March 2, 2004 at 07:03 PM

Megan Graye,

Here's a question for you. (I ask because I really don't know.)If I take a piece of meat, bread and spice it and freeze it before selling it, does that count as manufacturing?

Posted by: S Whiplash at March 2, 2004 at 07:09 PM

I have to say, I enjoy reading threads like this. There's something so pleasing about realizing, with absolute certainty, that one is right. The unbelievable hypocrisy, the inability to even think that there are issues about which the administration is doing a poor job...It boggles the mind. But refreshing, as well, to see that there are one or two (just one or two, sadly) right-leaning individuals here who would actually be a pleasure to discuss politics and economics with. Same goes for the lefties, so carry on yelling at each other like a bunch of 4-year olds in the sandbox. No wonder most of the world thinks we're morons...

Posted by: Morgan at March 2, 2004 at 09:12 PM

About the welfare state and how it´s supposedly hurting european economies:
Sweden and Norway (in Europe for those who don´t know) are commonly cited (along with other scandinavian countries) as some of the biggest welfare states around.

In relative value to these countries currencies the dollar has fallen about 30% (in the last 3 years). All of these nations have "floating" currencies ie. they don´t shore up their own currencies. This means that the difference in relative value is not caused by artificial stimulus (at least not from the european side). Which leaves us with supply-demand, market, effects to explain this change.

Currencies just as stocks are bought and sold according to the markets expectations for future returns which means that lower demand is seen as a consequence of lower expected future returns. Simply put international currency investors see the US as having a future ROI that is roughly 30% lower than these supposedly hurting european welfare states.

People will most likely start citing 9/11, the wars and other things as the causes behind this but the facts are as stated above. Someone will propably ask me to present statistics to substantiate these claims (and propably later call them bogus). I won´t, the data is available for those who which to find it...

Sorry to ramble on but I needed to vent after reading so many uninformed posts...Personally I don´t care whether R or D´s win...same sh*t different name to me...

Posted by: Reality check at March 2, 2004 at 10:57 PM

It's a good thing that there's no liberal bias in the media!

Posted by: Former Hostage at March 2, 2004 at 11:04 PM

What's curious is how those like Meg determine that an administration that is Republican is "spinning" and "fabricating" while one that is Democrat is not...despite the two administrations doing pretty much exactly the same thing.

It would seem to be a no-brainer then that someone like Meg would nod her head in vigorous, vacuous agreement to anything coming from CNN while deciding to paint everyone else as mouth-breathing Fox News watchers.

The fun part is watching someone like Meg completely ignore the facts the author of the article points out (that CNN spins the hell out of the news...and therefore drives a great many perceptive people to other news sources) and goes on the attack. Typical Lib Democrat tactic. Form an arguement, get it crammed back down your throat with facts you can't refute, start to tar and feather the other side.

...and I thought it was the left that was so open-minded of diversity and tolerant of opposing viewpoints. Right.

Posted by: Craig328 at March 2, 2004 at 11:18 PM

Anonymous posting is a bad idea. I wanted to comment about anon's egregious overgeneralizing about this thoughtful post, but couldn't. There are reasons why newspapers require you to sign your name to an editorial. You should require the same so as to combat the unproductive trolls of the world.

Posted by: Terry Elliott at March 2, 2004 at 11:45 PM

4.1 percent economic growth in 4th quarter of last year....the HIGHEST growth rate in 17 years....hmm who was president then?
For the life of me, I don't know why GWB isn't hammering home the economic consequences of September 11, 2001. Taken in context, the current economic growth is nothing short of miraculous.

Posted by: brinster at March 2, 2004 at 11:51 PM

Most likely this is a sign of the bias that has resulted in the exodus of viewers from CNN and the mainstream network television.

But I can spin this spin in America's favor:

Could it be that CNN is admitting that the socialist policies of the left are a disaster, and therefore 5.6 under a democRat president is excellent. Under a Republican 5.6 is too high because we all know Republicans are better than that!

Posted by: Steve at March 2, 2004 at 11:58 PM

I wonder how many jobs will be lost when a major city (say LA or Atlanta) disapears in a mushroom cloud one day? Or when our population is devistated by a biological attack? Anyone who is going to vote jobs over security is going to get what they deserve when we get hit by the Religion of Peace again.

Posted by: Azrael at March 3, 2004 at 12:01 AM

The irony here is that in trying to make a point Blair engages in the same fuzzy math he is trying to expose. "Fell to", "dropped from", "rose to" are all making reference to where the jobless rate was prior to the current measurement.

The only quote in the article containing an opinion is the "already-low 5.6 percent."

So I guess the answer is that journalists should just ignore the trends of rising or falling jobless rates? They must have no place in any discussion of the economy. Apparently it is irrelevant if the jobless rates jumps a lot or falls a lot.

An astute 5th grader could tell you differently.

Posted by: Dan Gramm at March 3, 2004 at 12:15 AM

Yet another good reason to NEVER watch CNN! It is unfortunate that a large number of Americans do not have the common sense to recognize the consistent and overwhelming liberal bias of most 'news' organizations.

Posted by: Diane at March 3, 2004 at 12:22 AM

Azrael, ever hear this quote?

Those willing to give up a little liberty for a little security deserve neither security nor liberty.

Benjamin Franklin


It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of citizens and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The freemen of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle. We revere this lesson too much ... to forget it.

James Madison

As such, security cannot be placed as the sole priority. Prosperity and economy must be given at least equal focus.

Posted by: -quiet- at March 3, 2004 at 12:23 AM

It should be no surprise that in yet another area, President Bush meets or exceeds the pitiful standards set by a former, amoral president, and is pointed at as being "bad." How do we get the word out not only about the lying media, but the misguided political pundits?

Posted by: Jay Crouch at March 3, 2004 at 12:35 AM

Are you people really this dumb? There's only one thing accurate in this article, and that's that it is relative, relative to recent performance. When Clinton took office, unemployment stood at 7.5%. Compared to that level, 5.6% is much lower, so I'm not surprised the media described it as such. Over Clinton's second term, the rate continued to fall (in fact it fell every year he was in office, source: US Dept. of Labor) until it stood at 4% in 2000. Compared to that level, 5.6% does indeed seem high. The media isn't guilty of bias here, they're guilty of having short memories.

Posted by: bob at March 3, 2004 at 12:47 AM

Last year, my wife was out of work because she left a hotel job for another hotel job that she hated and quit. Her old job was back filled immediately, and she (rightfully) couldn't collect. Within a month, this high school graduate took a job with Beltone for one day before being offered a different position as an optometrist trainee, which she loves. Liberals love anecdotal stories as evidence so there you go. Good thing I let her eat my table scraps for that month, eh?

Posted by: rhodeymark at March 3, 2004 at 01:02 AM

Let's get a couple of things straight. Simple economics will tell you that the economy operates on a cycle. The president only has veto power and has no control over the economy. Name one economic policy that Bill Clinton had that stimulated the economy. Name one! Bill Clinton was president during the dot com craze, when alot of companies were highly overvalued and companies had lots of money (that theoretically didn't exist) to hire lots of people. The bubble burst in 2000, there was a natural downturn in the economic cycle, and there was 9-11. Economists have determined that the "Bush" recession started in late 2000. (Do the research. The fact that unemployment is only 5.6% given these circumstances is remarkable. The economic fact that the last thing to recover in a recovering economy is jobs. As demand for goods increases, inventory has to be depleted before companies hire people to replace it. There has been growth in all sectors of the economy. The economy is now poised to show significant job growth for the next 2 years.

Posted by: Chris at March 3, 2004 at 01:12 AM

NO.. Unemployment is a measure of the number of people looking for work. Therefore unemployment numbers do not measure the number of people who have stopped looking for work. So a qualification of the number must be taken in a more general economic context (which it may have been) when these statements were made.

Secondly, unemployment does not measure the quality or salary of job worked. For example, someone who used to be in a tech job making 80k who is now making 40k wouldn't show up in the unemployment number but would still represent a loss from the prospective of the employee.

I think you've got a good start to a paper, but what you need to do is look more for root causes. A discussion of unemployment that does not include any statement of how that number is derived is not complete, and ultimately misleading.

Posted by: Kevin at March 3, 2004 at 01:47 AM

"The president only has veto power and has no control over the economy". I seem to remember the words "President" and "budget proposal" being bandied about, I guess I need to do some "research". Also, didn't Clinton get the Budget Deficit Package passed in '93, a measure every single Republican voted against. Is a balanced budget a good thing or a bad thing? What does "Simple economics" tell you about that? At least we can agree that the president does have veto power. Now if someone could let W know that we'd be in much better shape.

Posted by: Bob at March 3, 2004 at 01:52 AM

Although I agree that CNN has a liberal bias, CNN's interpretation of the unemployment rate during the aforementioned time periods is understandable--and arguably defendable. What the...how?

Easy: Before the 1996 election, the unemployment rate was falling from its peak of 7.8 in June of 1992--and was still drifting downward towards 5.5 to 5.0 % during 1996 leading up to the election!
Conversely, the unemployment rate bottomed out--reached its unsustainable cyclical low--at 3.8% in April 2000 and began drifting upward, peaking at 6.3% in June of 2003.

Bottom line: Comparing 5.6 with 7.8 in the 1996 election--with unemployment on a downward trajectory--allows one to argue that the unemployment rate is "low". Comparing 5.5 (or 5.6) with unemployment rates of pervious years hitting lows of 3.8%--in combination with the unemployment rate on an upward path, although now arguably declining (much debate surrounding the statistically validity of the employment report as of now) --allows one to argue that the unemployment rate is "high."

Again, I'm not disputing that the unemployment rate is very politically, but please remember the unemployment rate and interpretation of whether it is high or low, even when the unemployment rate is the same in two different time periods--is subject to comparisons of its near past and therefore highly correlated to its cyclical properties.

Posted by: Adam Bowman at March 3, 2004 at 01:54 AM

If I may interject briefly,
The point here is not whether 5.6 is high, low or indifferent. The point is that the Left has once again tried to use double-talk to confuse/pseudo-enlighten the masses who trust every muddled word of the Leftist propaganda. In essence, there are some within our social order that would rather trust in the pictures set forth by their ringleaders than have to look harder and find the truth – For whereas the truth may set some people free, truth can have devastating effects on the protective walls some folks build around their shallow and protected worlds.
After all... It is so much easier to point a finger elsewhere and absolve yourself of the fact that you keep raising taxes and forcing employers to thus raise the costs of their goods and services, therefore causing less demand, less profit and in the end, higher unemployment...
The Bush Administration is working to inject capital into the economy and promote spending, which would encourage hiring... But isn’t that the true issue? Tax relief to the private sector means fewer dollars to the special interests and government... hmmmmmmmmm
Maybe 5.6 is high, maybe 5.6 is low – But regardless, the number is constant and must be viewed consistently...

Posted by: Torrey at March 3, 2004 at 02:09 AM

When I was little boy, I always wondered why it was, similarly, when your hands are cold, you use your breath to warm them up, but when your hands are too hot, you can blow on them to cool them down too.

Posted by: Andrew at March 3, 2004 at 02:09 AM

I'd like to point something out here. Just to clarify, there's a big difference in definition that makes some figures swing in differet directions. Jobless rate and unemployment rate, as I understand it, are two very different things. Joblessness refers to the percentage of able bodied workers who are not working, while unemployment measures the percentage of jobless workers (out of the entire work able population) who are actively seeking employment. Joblessness are those people not looking + people looking.

If I'm wrong, smack me around and tell me where I messed this one up.

Posted by: JVK at March 3, 2004 at 02:12 AM

Dwayne Besuden:

Please show me where, anywhere, the government has to provide anyone a job AND that that job has to meet my salary requirements?

This is a free country, If my chosen profession cannot supply me with the job and salary I need, I need to either 1) move where I can get a job at the salay needed to sustain my current level, or 2) TRAIN for a new position in which I can attain my current level.

This is on ME, not the government!!

Posted by: Joan at March 3, 2004 at 02:14 AM

I personally do not need statistics to know that Bush and his conservative congress are messing with this country. When I see many, many people working in jobs in which they are underpaid, performing work for which they are extremely overqualified, I just use a little common sense. So please, quit trying to defend Bush, because 95% of his policies are wrong. And no, I DON'T have anything to back up that statistic....just the common sense I mentioned before.

Posted by: Josh at March 3, 2004 at 02:21 AM

All this talk about presidents creating jobs confuses me. I thought businesses and entrepeneurs created jobs.

Posted by: Dan at March 3, 2004 at 02:23 AM

Oh how soon those liberals forget…. It was their administration that held many of the book keeping policies that were practiced under their term so pitifully inept, and had allowed any claim of profit to be made (after all it was the president that made it happen!, the profits reports that is….) but in walks an Honest man to the office and begins his house keeping only to find out that the previous tenant had left behind so much junk and false products. ( that would be numbers of the economy, and how well he made it…. False, false, false.)
Less we also forget that it was Clinton that passed the HIGHEST tax hike in the HISTORY of the United States! Ohhhh but that’s an other story.
So Mr. W. is man enough to tell it like it is and he gets knocked around, when all he had to do is look the other way (in a perfect Clinton manner) and let the wrong doing that many companies were doing go unchecked.
You liberals are a joke a dozen. The hypocrisy is just incredible and the only reason you keep getting away with it, is that many of your followers are to blind and too lazy to research the facts themselves, and when they do attempt to find the truth it is being forced down their throats by our liberal media. Many times the best news for the good O’l USA can be found in an over seas paper with less influence from outside sources.

Posted by: Adrian at March 3, 2004 at 02:25 AM

wow....serious persecution complex going on here.

Posted by: myron at March 3, 2004 at 02:34 AM

Just easiest to drop this chat text in:

[11:26] XephAtWork: it is interesting, but I think they're all short sighted
[11:27] WorkKuma: ?
[11:27] XephAtWork: the way I see it... in a dynamic world, comparisons to the past, or expectations from the future serve only to hinder progress
[11:27] XephAtWork: things are good...
[11:27] XephAtWork: could they be better? yup
[11:27] XephAtWork: worse? yup
[11:27] XephAtWork: if you are laid off, it's always a bad time
[11:27] XephAtWork: whether unenjoyment is at 5.1% or 5.9%
[11:27] XephAtWork: if you're making 6 figures, it's probably good...
[11:28] XephAtWork: the media seems to sway not as much with dem vs. rep, but with how many high level execs are making $300,000/year
[11:28] XephAtWork: back in the 90's
[11:28] XephAtWork: when everyone was employed, happy and paid, and the dot coms were soaking in the e-cash
[11:28] XephAtWork: everyone was happy...
[11:28] XephAtWork: a LOT has changed since then... far more than just who's president
[11:28] XephAtWork: but people are sheep and lemmings
[11:29] WorkKuma: true nuff
[11:29] XephAtWork: and avert their eyes and ears from the obvious because of what the pretty colors on the TV set tells them
[11:29] WorkKuma: **NOD**

Posted by: Xepherys at March 3, 2004 at 02:37 AM

Someone correct me if i'm wrong, but .1% of workers in the US equals roughly 350,000 to 400,000 people. While I do agree with this article pointing out the absurdity of the media, I think that it does leave out the fact that the impact of a .1% shift in the unemployment rate is a highly significant number.

Posted by: cgilbert at March 3, 2004 at 02:38 AM

Torrey: Yes the number (5.5) is constant. But when comparing cyclical experiences, one must view the number in a relative context--not treat it as a black and white issue (bad or good). Treating that number as binary is like saying: In 1910, $100 dollars is a lot of money. In 2003, $100 dollars is not a lot of money. It's relative!

Posted by: Adam Bowman at March 3, 2004 at 02:39 AM

350,000? That seems high to me...

This assumes 350 million people of working age (16-67 years old)

I may be way off though, I honestly can't say for sure.

Posted by: Xepherys at March 3, 2004 at 02:40 AM


Also, in this case, the same needs to be said... is 350,000 people at 0.1% REALLY a significant number? Statistically, no... because 0.1% is a low percentage. Numerically, sure... to me as a single person, 350,000 people is a lot. To the government, that oversees hundreds of millions of people every minute of every day? 350,000 is probably not many. To a news agency that wants to keep people enticed? Yeah, 350,000 can be made to look as big or small as one needs it to look.

Posted by: Xepherys at March 3, 2004 at 02:46 AM


You wrote:

"Silas, I've been disappointed by most of the spelling, syntax and arguments in this post. I attributed most of it to ignorant, liberals, conservatives and voters. I disagree with alot of what I've read from both points of view. To see your post, professed to be representing our youth and future... with the misspellings, inappropriate grammer and basic lack of taste... made me sad for whichever future we have. Kerry (who I dislike and distrust) or Bush (who I feel has done a tremendous job lifting us out of Monica's panties and standing up to the Muslim radicals of the world), I hope the young generation that you pretend to represent can spell you're... and other "important" words."

Let's see.

From the Meriam-Webster online dictionary:


The word you've entered isn't in the dictionary. Click on a spelling suggestion below or try again using the search box to the right.

Suggestions for alot:

1. allot
2. all-out
3. eluate

grammer - nope, wrong again, it's grammar
who I dislike - that would be "whom I dislike"


Posted by: tx_eggman at March 3, 2004 at 02:53 AM

Great comments here. But I think that it's a case of relying on one metric that doesn't tell the whole story to begin with.

I think "under-employment" is the story here, and people like myself who don't show up on unemployment roles because I've exhausted my benefits.

There are a lot of skilled high tech workers who are cleaning carpets, running maid services, waiting tables, etc.

And there are a lot of people who are between low wages jobs, but can't get unemployment, who don't show up in the statistics.

All told, the job market seems to be getting better. But if I ask myself, "Am I better off than when Bush came into office?" The answer is definately not.


Posted by: Mike at March 3, 2004 at 03:04 AM

While I can appreciate the validity of relativity in this case - And, while I can certainly appreciate your insightful and intelligent views - in 2004 $100 is a lot of money, at least to me... $100 is the difference between making rent and not making rent; between feeding my family rice and beans or feeding them a nutritious meal; between fueling my car or not being able to go to work and school.
However, I am certainly glad to know that you are well off enough to scoff at $100.
But I ask you to take one thought into account:
This is a country built on the ideals of private industry and private ownership. Government should be a shadow to our society, not the primary figure. Why do people keep inciting political involvement into every facet of their lives, then balk in dismay at their government for their involvement in their day-to-day existences? Government has grown to excess, there are far too many politicians doing far too much to intervene in what we should be capable of controlling ourselves. The citizens of this nation must take responsibility for the financial dilemmas we find ourselves in, if for no other reason than because people keep on demanding more from their government...
What does this have to do with the argument at hand?
5.6%, be it down from previous levels or up from previous levels, should not be under the influences of government – but it is the constituency that demands it be so. 5.6% should be high or low, period. There really is no issue of relativity. People should either be angry that 5.6% of people are not working, or satisfied that only 5.6% of people are unemployed, regardless of what previous numbers reflect – because the goal should be that all people who have the desire to be productive are productive. And, quite frankly, the “unemployment rate” is a misleading indicator, anyway... It isn’t a true measure of the number of people who want to be productive.
So, I guess, in the long run, this entire argument is completely SUBJECTIVE.
Nonetheless, you’re a pretty smart cookie...

Posted by: Torrey at March 3, 2004 at 03:46 AM

For those of you on here that seem to think that the job market is bad. You need to get your facts straight!

News Article

Posted by: Matt at March 3, 2004 at 03:52 AM

You people need to understand the Liberal Mindset.
The most important thing to them is to regain their power. They cannot understand the country's conservative turn. They think their message isn't getting out, but it is! That's why they are losing Senate and House seats every election.
Right now, they believe that if they can start class warfare, encourage fear of Republicans, and a create a general belief that the country is going in the tank, facts don't matter.
If it's good for the country, it's bad for the Democrats.

Posted by: Paul at March 3, 2004 at 04:20 AM

One thing that I think is not being factored in is the length of unemployment. There have been alot of job turnovers with large corporations laying off or going bust altogether. The average term of unemployment when searching in a viable job market is 3 months, whereas unemployment goes for two years or so. Does this take into account the fact that alot of people are changing hands in the corporate sense with severance packages covering the term and seeing no break in income? Does simple unemployment insurance registration drive these figures? I think that one simple figure does not reflet the true nature of things since there are so many ways it can be played out. We can speculate all we want, but all things are NOT equal in this case.

On a side note, I think that there needs to be a greater emphasis put on true production and manufacturing rather than "value added" manufacturing and the figures should also be divided. I'm in the computer industry and Direct to public sales have turned over the Value Added resellers to the wolves.

Posted by: Penchant at March 3, 2004 at 04:27 AM

I'm out here in Oklahoma everyone. How many "jobs" have you all seen head south of the border since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)? A few months ago a whole town of laborers at the Wrangler clothes plant lost their jobs, because the company cut costs and headed to Mexico. There's your heavy job loss for the past 10 years.

Posted by: Average Joe at March 3, 2004 at 04:34 AM

Thank God we have fair unbiased journalists like you around. That damned liberal media wants to destroy Bush because he is God's own appointed "soldier of justice TM". We shouldn't be focusing on the fact Bush has destroyed our foreign policy because George is a good handsome Christian white man. Forget that he isn't all that intelligent... and that he was derelict in his duties....

My point is... you can point out inconsistencies in the media as long as you'd like. People of all political affiliations could try to use this to prove a point. However it IS a fact that Bush has been unable to create new jobs during the large majority- this includes pre-9/11.

Posted by: Fidel Catro at March 3, 2004 at 04:46 AM

Oh, BTW, I am a troll.

Posted by: Paul at March 3, 2004 at 04:49 AM

I can't believe there are posters who actually claim "Bush is a force in feminism" when he's acting overtime to overturn Roe v. Wade.

As far as the unemployment rate nonsense - don't look at the numbers without looking around you. How many people do you know without jobs? I know considerably more than I ever did 4, 5, 6 years ago. About the same amount actually as the LAST time a Bush was in the White House. Any number of things could be happening with the data - fast food jobs as "manufacturing" anyone???

Posted by: Anon2 at March 3, 2004 at 04:56 AM

The fact is, yes, more jobs have been created.

But, here's the thing: When the info came out about these new jobs that were created, it came out during the high point of the holiday season. How many of those new jobs were tempoary because of the holidays? How many of those new jobs were part time? How many of them had health care? How about union protection? Did any of them have long term possibilites? How many of those "jobs" were actually "careers?"

Yes, job creation did indeed happen, but there's a difference between getting a career and working your ass off in Wal-Mart for shit wages just because you can't find anything else.

If our economic situation is fine, why is gasoline expected to rise yet again in a few months? In fact, why is tuition for colleges rising yet again? In fact, why is nearly every state claiming they are in a budget crisis?

If our economic situation is fine, why is the manufacturing sector at its lowest employment rate since the 1950s?

If our situation is perfectly okay, and there's nothing to worry about, and everything is going to get better and better, why is it that the Pentagon - not some liberal whelps who have nothing better to do than complain, but the Pentagon itself - release a report not but two weeks ago that stated that if things don't start changing economically, and worldly, we could face serious global problems, and environmental fallouts? Why would the Pentagon - you know, Rumsfeld's playground - do this is everything was fine?

Just some thoughts.

Posted by: bela at March 3, 2004 at 05:02 AM


If you weren't such a clueless right wing moron, you could be forgiven for your stupidity. The current numbers have failed to account for the unemployed who have been out of work so long that they've given up trying. I imagine they're waiting for a real president to be elected (rightfully, natch, without election fraud) so that things like facts and figures will not be processed and reported by fuzzymathheads like your ignorant self. Barring a "fair and balanced" election process this time, if W should prevail, then I guess the under-reported unemployed will have to wait for the collapse of the country to find any meaningful existence! Keep if the good moronic party line, dickhead.

Posted by: mel at March 3, 2004 at 05:06 AM

Well much of everything in the 90's had a nice spin on it. People assume that things were better back then but it was all just smoke and mirrors. Back then companies like enron were cooking the books. That was also the time of sky high internet stocks that had no real profit let alone a dividend.

Seeing a bunch of hype from CNNfn,bloomberg and CNBC just made things seem better.

Meanwhile each year there was a major disaster
1993 first wtc attack and black hawk down in somalia and waco
mid 90's abortion clinic bombings
95 oklahoma city bombing
96 khobar towers bombing and olympic park bombing
97 twa 800
98 keyna and tanzania embassies
99 USS cole
2000 attempted bombing of lax but stopped at canadian boarder

Posted by: mpd at March 3, 2004 at 05:07 AM

My view on the Clinton sub 5% unemployment rate.

It all had to do with the Internet bubble. Every, nose-picking, lving in their parents' basement, 18-22 year old Generation Y slacker, who would normally be unemployed, or partially employed (say, delivering pizzas two nights a week in order to buy weed) thought they were going to be the next Bill Gates.

(Hey Dude I know what a motherboard is. I'm gonna get rich off the internet)

Remember what happened to all those dotcoms?

And while I am on the subject I believe this also explains the implosion of Howard Dean.

When he counted on all these internet nimrods he probably put his fate in the hands of a bunch of stoners, who thought that there was nothing more to politics than passing on internet petitions, or creating cartoons about what a moron Bush is. Come that day in Iowa I wonder of them all of a sudden realized that one actually had to leave the house, or (Wow Man) actually have been registered to vote!

Posted by: Bob Diethrich at March 3, 2004 at 05:17 AM

Several ramblings which may or may not be of interest; read at your own risk.

"Healthy" unemployment in the US economy is generally agreed upon to be 5% to 6% or so. Under Clinton-- and I use the former president's name only to mark time, not to suggest he had anything to do with anything-- the envelope was pushed to around 4%. This wasn't sustained for long enough to know for sure if it was a change in the "healthy", or natural, unemployment rate... or if the economy was actually overheated. People with jobs and more discretionary income than normal-- myself included-- tend to not like that to change... whatever the best interest of "the economy as a whole" may be. My point, you may ask? 4% may not have been much better than 7%, but it felt good. And our current jobless rate is NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT. Although what concerns me is...

The sheer number of jobs available, or the ratio of jobs to people, or whatever, is an extremely poor indicator of the health and vitality of an economy. Take a small fictious island with 10 residents, all able-bodied and willing to work. Five are employed at $5 per hour, 40 hours a week; five are unemployed. Great Leader Swiffer is elected, and a year later, the situation is this: Nine of the ten people are employed, at $2 per hour, 40 hours a week. Unemployment plummeted... but so did everyone's living standard. It's a shame it would be too difficult to measure dollars-per-week-per-person-WILLING-to-work. (Week is a time frame I pulled out of nothingness as most people will work every week, and thus the same number of weeks a month, whereas even to the same person, hours per week may be fluctuating wildly. Willing should be willing, able, etc.)

Clinton oversaw a quite blissful economic period. But he had remarkably little to do with much of anything. (And for the love of all things, pants up or pants around the ankles, what goes on behind closed doors is -not- what should define a person's presidency.) Bush is overseeing a rather bleak, but, compared to the rest of the world, decent economic period. But he has remarkably little to do with anything vaguely economic. And -- be it just or be it atrocious -- the little war on terrorism does require equipment, which requires people to make... etc. MARKET ECONOMIES NATURALLY FLUCTUATE. We've done a fairly good job of reducing the amplitude of the business cycle, but, alas, we're mere mortals and it marches on, no matter what person/party/whatever is in office. And please people, economics as a study hasn't been around that long. We're still all bloody guessing, and going on what should work, and what has kinda worked, and what might work... but there's no simple fixes.

And my final rambling... if you walk away from this remembering anything, may it be this. Our economy is based largely, if not entirely, on faith. If you think we're up for recession, you'll spend less, less will be made, jobs will be lost, we'll recede. The opposite also being true. So I ask you to do this: IGNORE ANY AND ALL ECONOMIC PREDICTIONS. Live life how you will, and the rest should take care of itself. The post-9/11 dip wouldn't have been nearly as bad if you, anonymous reader, would have still flown home for Thanksgiving, stockpiled miscellaneous things that people don't want but act appreciative for anyway for Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Eid-ul-Fitr/Flaming Monkey Day/Whatever, et ceteras ad nauseum.

And with that, I bid you good day. I like my job, so I'm off to buy stuff I don't need. :-P

Posted by: Shawn Dixon at March 3, 2004 at 05:35 AM

Let's get another thing straight. Average salaries in this country are rising at a greater rate than inflation. The common notion that high paying jobs are being replace with low paying jobs is leftist propaganda. 5.6% is 5.6% no matter how you look at it. Another thing that needs to be clarified is this. Companies own jobs. NOBODY has a right to a job. It is their right to hire who they feel is best qualified for the position at the pay they are willing to give. It is each individuals responsibility to have a set of skills that they can "sell" to an employer at the salary they are looking for. If your skills require a higher salary than the employer is willing to pay, then it's your responsibility, not the company's, to make your skills more valuable or find a company that is willing to pay you what you're worth. If not, then the individual needs to develop more skills that will allow them to get the salary they desire. Companies are going to make their bottom line profit, period. This is capitalism. To demand that companies offer higher salaries is to ask them to charge more for goods or services (to maintain their profit margin), therefore rendering the pay increase meaningless because your dollar will have the same value as it did before. Law of supply and demand applies to jobs as well. Simply put, companies are going to pay what the market will bear. In this day and age with exponentially increasing technology, it is each individual's responsibility to continue to learn new skills. The day you feel you don't need to do so is the day you become obsolete.

Posted by: Chris at March 3, 2004 at 05:47 AM

I just took a look at this entire debate where people are trying to decide whether or not a 5.6% unemployment percentage is really bad or not.

Again, I will reiterate as I have been for several years now, that number is not bad or good, it is in fact totally meaningless. The way the U.S. government calculates unemployment has changed so much over the last ten years that it is totally impossible to do any sort of a comparison between unemployment now and uneployment at any point other than in the latter part of the Clinton years.

Things like people who aren't looking for work are no longer counted by unemployment. People who have gone on disability are no longer counted by unemployment. There have been times in the recent past when these numbers were counted, or where a portion of these numbers were counted. What this has done is serve to actually decrease the overall unemployment rate over time without having any substantial change in the job market. This has happened because it has been politically good for both parties; people under Clinton can say that the unemployment percentage was the lowest in history and suckers will buy the spin, and people under Bush can say that the unemployment is only 5.5% and that's historically not that bad, and those same suckers will buy the spin.

While I don't have the raw data that the feds use to calculate those numbers, there have been some estimates of what the unemployment percentages would have been under Clinton and Bush if they were calculated the same way as they had been under Reagan. Under Clinton, it would have dropped down to around 5 or 6%, and under Bush, it probably has gotten up to about 9%. The true facts are actually hidden by the data the govenrment puts out, and that's the way they like it.

I promised in that post in December (link above) I would laugh at anyone who posts the unemployment percentages as a sign the economy is doing anything, whether it was good under Clinton or improving or weakening or anything else, because the statistic is so totally useless. I am now required to laugh at you all for this discussion. Hahahahahahahaha.

Remember this; The unemployment percentage numbers that the government puts out are currently totally useless. Whether people are syaing they're good or bad doesn't matter; the numbers that the government puts out have been so politicized that you cannot actually figure anything out using them. You are far better off looking at the total monthly job cuts/job gains numbers; while those are still seasonally adjusted, the raw data actually is usually tacked onto the report.

Posted by: Balta at March 3, 2004 at 05:51 AM

Good points Shawn. It is true, as you learn in Econ 101, the economy operates on a cycle. The president has very little influence on the economy. Congress passes bills, the president either signs them or vetoes them. Unemployment below 5.5% is considered frictional unemployment, meaning that the number of people looking for jobs is equal to the number of jobs available. Either people haven't found the job they are looking for or they haven't accepted a job they are looking for.

Posted by: Chris at March 3, 2004 at 05:56 AM

One thing I know, my own personal unemployment rate is zero. As long as I keep making my self valuable, by being responsible, honest, hard working, by learning new skills, going above and beyond the job requirement, it will remain at zero. If you are unemployed, that is your fault, no one elses. Where you are in life is the total sum of every decision you've made up until now.

Posted by: Chris at March 3, 2004 at 06:03 AM

This is such a lame attack point. ALL you right-wingers are talking about this statistic today. Please, grow up. Y'all can do better!

The unemployment rate DROPPED from 7.3% when Clinton took office to 5.2% in October '96. In THAT time frame an unemployment rate of 5.6% was LOW.

[Note: the unemployment rate dropped, and kept dropping, AFTER the 'largest tax increase in history' enacted by Clinton, thus destroying the myth that only tax cuts stimulate the economy - but that's another story.]

By contrast, the unemployment rate has INCREASED from 3.9% when Clinton left office to its current 5.6% level. In THIS time frame, a 5.6% unemployment rate is HIGH.

So, this is just more twisted history from the right. But we're prepared for your lies!

Posted by: David Hannah at March 3, 2004 at 06:06 AM

Chris, ABSOLUTELY correct, which is why I told all the libs that are in my family that I wished Gore would have been elected....... the economy would have taken a dump even with a Dem in the house...... just so that I could shut their lib-lips, if only for a while!

Posted by: Adrian at March 3, 2004 at 06:06 AM

This is wonderful. These rates are lowering. I am so glad that I am employed now. I haven't watched CNN for years; it's not tempting. More proof.

Posted by: W.J. Clinton at March 3, 2004 at 06:17 AM

America ~ 260,000,000 people.
10% = 26,000,000
1% = 2,600,000
.1% = 260,000

.1% is a big jump

Posted by: Me at March 3, 2004 at 06:22 AM

If the average salary is growing at a rate greater than inflation, how is the 5.6% under Bush worse than the 5.6% under Clinton? Is it because he's a Republican? Remember, the president has very little influence on the economy. As I have stated earlier, it is your responsibility, not government's, not anybody but yours to have the job at the pay you desire.

Posted by: Chris at March 3, 2004 at 06:31 AM

Shawn Dixon.....all I can say is "AMEN"!


Posted by: Fairly Strange at March 3, 2004 at 06:32 AM

1000 people
10% = 100
1% = 10
.1% = 1

.1% means 1 in a 1000. No matter how you slice it.

Thanks "Me", I couldn't have done this without you!

My unemployment rate remains at 0.0%

Posted by: Chris at March 3, 2004 at 06:38 AM

So you have a job Chris. Congrats!

(this is to explain to everyone else what 0.0% means)

Posted by: Me at March 3, 2004 at 06:41 AM

Something for everyone to think about:
Luck is opportunity met with preparation.

Posted by: Chris at March 3, 2004 at 06:41 AM

C'mon, you must be kidding me...

He very conveniently leaves out that in between 1996, when it fell to 5.3 and when it "jumped" to 5.7 in December 2001 that it fell down to 4.0 PRIOR to the Shrub taking office in Jan. 2001. He asks "Can you “jump” to a figure 0.1 percent above that already defined as “low”?" Hell yes you can jump when in context you see that the rate went much, much lower than the "already low" rate!

Since Bush took office, unemployment has climbed from 4.0 in 2000 to 6.0 in 2003.

Posted by: Liz Olsson at March 3, 2004 at 06:42 AM

Too bad it's all bogus! The unemployment rate is figured by those recieving unemployemnt benefits! Those that are homeless are not considered unemployed.

The unemployement only considers manufacturing jobs as well. Jobs are disappearing and someday you will feel the backlash of it.

Take a drive thru the midwest and learn how many jobs have left to Mexico and overseas. Recently 1800 jobs left Galesburg, Il to Mexico for those $1 an hour wages. Well, I haven't seen a decrease in the price of washing machines but last quarter Maytag's profits fell 40%. Maybe it's because their Mexican workers canot afford an $800 clothes washer.

Oh, Maytags not the only one, try Motorola, Exide and about 15 other companies that split from S.I. Iowa. So, I guess, Yeah lets keep Bush in and give more tax breaks to the wealthy!

You see, I have a wife and three kids and both of us work. Every bit of money we make goes back into the economy just to live.

Bush gave the majority of tax breaks to top wealthy 5%! The lower tax brackets need the breaks as we are the ones purchasing lunch tickets, band instruments, dental check ups, daycare, birthday presents, car-care, furntiture, etc.

In short, I hope to someday make enough money to become a republican!

John in Iowa

Posted by: John D. at March 3, 2004 at 06:45 AM

If you want to know what Liberalism will do to an economy, take a look at California. Taxing corporations worked REAL GOOD! Now they're gone...

Taking from the rich and giving to the poor only works in fairy tales.
In real life, there are people who take and take and then demand more. Tax cuts are a prime example.
How do you give back taxes to those who don't pay any?
There aren't too many poor people hiring new employees, now are there?

Posted by: paul at March 3, 2004 at 06:53 AM

Let's get it straight. The rich get the biggest tax break because they pay the most taxes. They should have a right to keep more of WHAT THEY EARN. To make it simple, suppose someone earns $100,000 and pay $40,000 (40%) in taxes and someone else earns $20,000 and pays $2,000 (10%) in taxes. The person earning $100,000 is now allowed to keep $10,000 of his income, so now his tax rate is 30%. The person earning $20,000 gets no tax cut. The person earning $100,000 is still paying 20% more in taxes. Explain to me how allowing someone to keep more of the money they earn and force them to still pay more than someone else is unfair to the person who earns $20,000?

Posted by: Chris at March 3, 2004 at 07:03 AM

Something else for all of you to chew on.
Show me a poor person that has given any of you a job.

Posted by: Chris at March 3, 2004 at 07:13 AM

Damn Chris...... we must be brothers....
I too was about to respond to that statement about taxes.
If the richest 10 percent of the US pay over 80 Percent of the taxes, I say Hell Yes they deserve a tax break. Its people like my lazy brother-in-law (whom is a lib) and only pays into the system lets say 1200 bucks and yet he gets back money from the IRS, and food stamps, and education, housing help, etc. etc, etc. My taxes pay for his laziness. Yet he smokes, drinks, and has some stupid fast and the furious Honda car.

Posted by: Adrian at March 3, 2004 at 07:39 AM

I could be your brother. I have a fast and furious Honda as well. But I have a job and pay way too much in taxes.

Posted by: Chris at March 3, 2004 at 07:45 AM

In response to the quotes posted by -quiet-,

Those are some great quotes - especially Franklin's. The security provided by a nanny-state is exactly what he warned about - not national defense - according to the U.S. Constitution. The Federal government has the responsibility to fight against foreign aggressors but, not until FDR, against domestic ills such as unemployment.

Those willing to give up a little liberty for a little security deserve neither security nor liberty. - Benjamin Franklin
Posted by: Chuck Bradley at March 3, 2004 at 07:53 AM

I understand what you are saying but to the person who makes $20,000, there is no EXTRA income. You cannot live on $20,000 per year. Thus the best tax break!

At 40,000 you may have a little extra income if you live alone and have good health insurance.

At 100,000 where I live, you can live pretty damn good! You should pay some taxes. Very few people here make $100k

The "Top 5%" or should I say Millionaires should pay a hefty portion. If you are an exec at Disney making 30 million a year, your not gonna miss much paying extra taxes. What? Maybe a 36 foot yacht instead of a 40 footer?

When I hear one a millionaire say, "I need a tax break" I would like him to hear a child say "I'm hungry, my tummy hurts!" This is happening in my neighborhood. Families living in cars, etc.

So if a homeless peroson gets a day job and makes $60, should he give 30% of that for taxes? NO, he'll never get out of the hole, never prosper.

If you can afford to pay taxes, you should.

I understand that you deserve what you earn but look at property taxes. You pay taxes according to the value and location of your home. Commerical real estate pays more than residential.

Those that operate or outsource outside of the US should be taxed extremely high. They are the ones selling us out. If our jobs were here with competitive wages, you wouldn't hear from me!

John in Iowa

Posted by: John D. at March 3, 2004 at 07:55 AM

Watch the movie "lost in America" and you will have a whole new attitude. Starring William Hurt

Posted by: John D. at March 3, 2004 at 07:57 AM

Sorry John in Iowa:

You wrote: "The "Top 5%" or should I say Millionaires should pay a hefty portion"

Got some bad news for you. According to a non-partisan tax payers watchdog group, the top 5% for a family with two earners starts at 125,000 last year! That ain't millionaire territory. A private practice attorney married to a teacher is hardly Bill Gates's neigborhood.

I love how they always throw out that 5% number, playing the class warfare card, and get people to imagine Thurston Howell munching on brie on his 80 foot yacht, instead of two parents paying too much for a house in a decent school district (Yes, I know those are deductions)

I teach in a fairly up-scale high school and you should see the jaws of my little sophomores drop when I inform them that most of their parents are taxed at the same rate as Gates.

Posted by: Bob Diethrich at March 3, 2004 at 08:11 AM

Why should someone who earns $100,000 pay for someone who has made poor decisions and can only earn $30,000 a year? Why have a child if you cannot afford to pay for that child? Since when does it become the rich's responsibility to take care of someone who is irresponsible? Remember, where you are in life is based on the sum of every decision you have made throughout your life. The poor will always be poor, because they will continue to do the things that make them poor.

Posted by: Chris at March 3, 2004 at 08:14 AM

Here's a thought about jobs for all to enjoy. Was the job you lost yours, or was it really the employer's? You know, the guy who signs your check?!? It's not the government's responsibility to create jobs...create a positive economic position, yes. It does so via many vehicles, whether it be the structure of our nation's outlays or through tax policy. As an American, one who is free, it IS YOUR responsibility to ensure your education/training is complete. It IS YOUR responsibility to position yourself with job skills that are both accute and in demand. I have no degree, am 23, went to an urban public school and already make more than both of my parents. So don't cry about your unpriviledged upraising. Your experience in life is what YOU make it, not the government or its constituents. Get out of the unemployment line, get yourself some skills, a job and finally, a little INDEPENDENCE.

Posted by: Matt at March 3, 2004 at 08:15 AM

Pay attention guys (particularly the author). The 5.6 rate in 1996 was from a steady decline in unemployment, where it continued to decline until G.W. took office, where it again began to sharply rise. Who are these guys defending the job increases. Stop watching Fox News and pay attention. Take an economics course, but this time actually listen!

Posted by: darshan at March 3, 2004 at 08:23 AM

Amen Matt!
Congrats to you and what you've accomplished. You are so right. The companies own the jobs. Each and everybody as an applicant for a job has to sell a set of skills to the employer. If the applicant doesn't get the job, he either has to develop more skills to make themselves more marketable, settle for a lower wage, or find the job that pays what they feel they are worth. If you fail to constantly improve yourself, then you fail to get the job and/or pay you want. It's like the saying: A fool is someone who does the same thing over and over and expects different results.

Posted by: Chris at March 3, 2004 at 08:31 AM


I'm only trying to make one point; the above comments made by CNN can arguably be justified--that is, the cyclical dynamics of the economy make it impossible to formulate a “black or white” judgment about the unemployment rate at any one point in time without context (where did the economy come from and in what direction is the economy heading). I agree with you that in a perfect world, everyone who wishes to supply labor would be ably employed. But, the fact remains the world is a place of limits—of scarcity—and not everyone is always able to find employment. That being said, sometimes the economy is more robust than other times and the unemployment rate therefore fluctuates with the rate of growth. And this is where the importance of relativity comes into play.

If unemployment rate was 7.8% two years ago and it is now 5.5%, a downward trend can be identified and one can argue that the economy is “good” or at least better than what it once was (barring, of course, statistical distortions that may misrepresent the unemployment rate as it is defined—those who have sought work in the past four weeks but, for whatever reason, fail to become employed). If the unemployment rate was 3.8% two years ago and it is now 5.6%, an upward trend can be identified and one can argue that the economy is “bad” or at least worse than it once was. But this is only part of the “5.5% isn’t always 5.5%” story. Structural changes in the economy, not to be confused with cyclical variations, cause the sustainable rate of employment to change over time—and there again, “5.5% isn’t always 5.5%.”

Therefore, I respectfully disagree with your contention that “people should either be angry that 5.6% of people are not working, or satisfied that only 5.6% of people unemployed, regardless of what previous numbers reflect.” Perhaps it is more appropriate to make a judgment with respect to the direction the economy (and therefore the labor market) is heading: either we’re improving or we’re not. Of course, this brings to bear arguments of fiscal and monetary policy as means of influencing the direction of economic growth and the rate of employment. I, my friend, will stand clear of these speeding “trains” and simply say that I personally believe that this is a road (or I guess track) pockmarked by caveat potholes.

Finally, I do agree that the unemployment rate is not a perfect measure of the number of people who want to supply labor, or in your own words "be productive"—but I’m not sure if there is a better proxy!?



Posted by: Adam Bowman at March 3, 2004 at 08:35 AM

Simple economic will tell you that the economy operates in cycles and that the president has very little influence on the economy. Name one economic policy that Clinton that benefitted the economy? CNN Money reported that economists have determined that the "Bush" recession started late 2000. These are the same group of economists who have determined every recession since 1850. Who was President then? (If you want to blame presidents for the economy). But to tell you the truth, I determine my own fate. My unemployment rate is 0.0% and will remain so. Why? Because I do the things necessary to keep myself employed: things such as hard work, honesty, integrity, doing things above and beyond my job description, and constantly improving myself. Where I am in my life is based on each and every decision I have ever made and the same holds true for you and everyone else. I prefer to be in control of my life and my fate, and not let government or anybody else dictate otherwise.

Posted by: Chris at March 3, 2004 at 08:39 AM


It sounds like a personal attack on me. I do not make a great salary but I have never lived on welfare. My children do not get reduced lunches. My wife and I both work and support our selves. When I was 18, I had to make it on my own and I have. I own a house, cars, boat and travel often. My children are well taken care of. I pity those who are unable to help themselves.

To Matt,

It IS he government's job to protect fair trade. It IS the government's job to create jobs as the politicians promise to do so before they are elected. They get paid to do that. Have not ever heard of the Department of Labor?

Like Randy Travis says, It's not what you take with you, it's what you leave behind when you go.

A lesson to be learned. Be careful not to judge others. I've known a lot of good people that have lost it all due to unfortunate circumstances.

Let me ask! Has anyone ever bought toys for an angel tree? gave food to a food pantry? Worked a food drive?

I may not have tought my children how to play polo or man a sailboat, but I have tought them how to be compassionate to others.

How do you measure the success of a man?

John in Iowa

Posted by: John D. at March 3, 2004 at 08:43 AM

Here's the difference:

When Clinton took office unemployment was at 7%. When he left office it was 4%.

In 3 years Bush raised the unemployment rate 1.6%.

The difference is "Is the rate trending up or down?"

Add to that the other fun facts of the Bush presidency:

“Bankruptcy filings totaled 1,650,279 (ending June, 2003), the largest number of cases ever filed in any 12 month period.”

“During April, May and June 2003, 1.23% of mortgages — about 640,000 — were in the foreclosure process. That's the highest rate in its 30 years of tracking, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Monday. A year earlier, not even 1% of mortgages were in foreclosure.”

“Fully 30 million Americans -- one in four U.S. workers -- earn $8.70 an hour or less, a rate that works out to $18,100 a year, which is the current official poverty level in the United States for a family of four.”

“The cost of rent and utilities for a typical two-bedroom apartment has increased more than a third since 1999.”

“The American Bankers Association (ABA) reported Tuesday that 4.09 percent of all credit-card accounts were delinquent in the third quarter, the highest rate on record, and said the weak job market was probably to blame.”

Posted by: Jordan Lund at March 3, 2004 at 08:46 AM

I read something like this and I think maybe there is something to the theory that stupid people support the Republicans. This writer complains that 5.6 percent unemployment is described as "pretty low" for the Clinton administration, and "pretty high" for the Republicans. Sounds unfair, right? But if you read the quotes from his own post (that's the part that kills me) it is clear that 5.6 percent is Clincton's worst showing ("December 2001: The U.S. unemployment rate jumped to 5.7 percent in November - the highest in six years") while the same number was Bush's best showing ([2004]:"The unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent, the lowest level since January 2002, from 5.7 percent in December."). As Clinton's worst showing, 5.6 percent is, quite accurately, "still pretty low". But as Bush's best, 5.6 percent is, no doubt, "bad news". And yet this writer wants us to believe that it's the same figure. Stupid.

Posted by: Stephen Downes at March 3, 2004 at 08:55 AM

I was only speaking in general terms. It is not the government's responsibility to create jobs. Democrats play on the fears of the poor by promising them jobs. Businesses own the jobs. When government starts dictating when companies can hire and who they can hire, then your are moving from a free capitalistic society to a repressed socialist society. You have the choice to go to school, learn a skill, get a degree, and earn more money. I am going to school now through student loans that I will have to pay back one day. But this is an investment, because my future salary will more than compensate for my student loan. I have a good paying job now, but I am choosing to improve myself, so I don't ever have to depend on anyone or government to take care of me or my family. I will be improving myself the rest of my life. Because I am not going to let life happen to me. If you or anybody is unable to do these things because of circumstances in your life, why should someone like me, who will be earning a large salary, have to take care of someone who made different decisions throughout their life and is not earning enough? As the poor will do the things to keep them poor, the rich will do the things that keep them rich.

Posted by: Chris at March 3, 2004 at 08:56 AM

Jordan, Stephen, and all of you other idiots out there who keep saying Clinton had better unemployment numbers, I want you to do one thing for me. Name one economic policy that Clinton had that lowered unemployment? And tell me one thing Bush did to raise unemployment. Simple economics will tell you that the economy is cyclical. Clinton got to ride the dot-com bubble to low unemployment. When the bubble burst, Bush was elected shortly thereafter. Add 9-11 and 5.6% unemployment is pretty remarkable given the circumstances. Simple economics will also teach you that the last thing to recover in a recovering economy is jobs. Simply put, when people stop buying, inventories increase and there is less need for employment. Now that inventories are being depleted due to growth in the economy, new jobs will soon follow. But outside of all of this, as I have said earlier, my unemployment rate is 0.0% and will remain so for the rest of my life. If not, then I have only myself to blame and take full responsibility.

Posted by: Chris at March 3, 2004 at 09:05 AM

According to U. S. Department of Labor- Beau. of Labor Stats, the average unemployment rate over the past 50 years is 5.8%. Hummmmm!

Posted by: Dave Zickefoose at March 3, 2004 at 09:33 AM

... but Chris, you are depending on the government. All us taxpayers are putting you through school so you can better yourself.

Instead of lambasting all the hard working people here, paying your way through school, you should get on your knees and thank them ....

Pompous ass that you are.

And for your information, tax cuts to the rich will not boost any economy. Without demand for goods, brought about by what I like to refer to as "common folks purchases", your business CEOs are going to continue to sit on their hands.

While it may not be the governments responsibility to create jobs, it's sure as hell in their best interest.

... how else would we be able to school our children?

Posted by: puppet at March 3, 2004 at 09:47 AM

One last post.

The current unemployment rate does not reflect those whose unemployement benfits have ran out. It only reflects those receiving unemployment benefits and it only looks at manufacturing jobs. Those that do not have a job and have no unemployemnt benefits left simply "DO NOT COUNT" I would look at homeless figures, forclosures, and layoffs. This is what really tells the story!
Unemployment numbers aren't an accurate depiction of what is really happening. I blame the whole thing on both republicans and democrats, the fat cats who got rich off of selling out our country by allowing free trade. It's like different rules for two opposing teams. Simple math, wages are cheaper elsewhere, less restrictions, jobs have been outsourced and the large corporations paid our elected leaders to allow this. They both win! We eventually will lose. I wanna be rich too, but I also wan't those Americans that spend money and buy products to have a job. If you think the unemployment rate is really the same as the Clinton Administration, then why is "Creating jobs" such an important issue? Maybe because, so many Americans have either lost their job, known someone who has lost their job, or worried they are going to lose their job beacuse of the sagging economy. It's bad, really bad! I talked with the tax assessers (SP) office in our county last week and they said that in the past year they have written forclosures every day and that they used to see, maybe one per year. No matter who you are, this will soon trickle down to you. Have you seen the price of soy beans? almost $10 a bushell. They expect $14 soon. I'll expect you big city folk will be paying about $6 a pound for hamburger before long. Gas is expected to be at $5 a gallon. Home Heating costs are expected to triple (mine have doubled) And yes, there's that Social security thing too. Social Security benefits will have to be cut next year if something isn't done. It's a very bad scene right now!

"To run a successful business, you need to pay you workers enough money to buy your products"
Henry Ford

What ever happened to "Buy American"? people just don't care. They don't even care about brand names. It's whatever Wal-Mart has at the best price.

Let's not forget to send that man to Mars and while we're at it let's invite all of Mexico to come in and work those few jobs we have left! Your college degree won't mean much when there is a guy willing to do your job for a 1/3 of the price. And oh, they don't pay taxes for three years when they might have to go home. Let me ask, how does Bush plan to send immigrants home in three years when he has no control now?

Have a great night!

John D. Stuck in Poverty!

Posted by: John D. at March 3, 2004 at 10:06 AM

Hello puppet,
Let's get things clear. One,my "pompous ass" is going to a private school with a loan from a private company. ALL of which I have to pay back. So thanks for nothing you ignorant ass. All of you "poor" people could and should do the same. Better yourself and stop working minimum wage jobs and bitch about how it isn't fair that the rich are rich and you are poor. The opportunity is there for you. Number two, I've probably paid more taxes in my life than you have earned, not that it matters. Explain to me how government creates jobs. I thought the purpose of government was to create and enforce laws, and to prevent coercion. I thought businesses create jobs. Name one government job that the private sector can't do better. Don't say the military, because outside of GI's, all the weapons and technology use by the military are produced by private industry. I am putting myself in a position to never have to depend on government to help me. I will always be employed or have an income. I have done this with no help from government and will continue to do so. My unemployment rate is and will always be 0.0%

Posted by: chris at March 3, 2004 at 10:52 AM

I agree with Chris, your position in life is dictated by only one person, yourself. I started working at 12 years of age, and haven't stopped yet. Now I own an electrical contracting business, have a home and a family, the gov't didn't make this happen, or not happen, I did. America is still the land of opportunity, it's just that too many people, forgot that, they think this country owes them.
Tomorrow is not guaraunteed to anyone, nor is anything else, except taxes, if you earn enough money.

Posted by: Rick at March 3, 2004 at 12:21 PM

First, it should be a given that the dot-com bubble was responsible for the soaring markets and rapid economic growth of the late 90s. It should also be a given that 9-11 took a LOT of money out of the ecomony (stock crash, huge drop in airline travel, etc., etc.), causing a sharp downturn in an economy that was already suffering from the collapsing of the internet bubble that happened in September-October of 2000. For example, Intel lost almost half its value, and Apple Computer lost two-thirds of its value. Both the rapid growth of the late 90s and the downturn that began late 2000 and hit bottom after 9-11 would have happened whether a Republican or a Democrat were in office.

For those of you who keep insisting that Bush's economic policies were responsible for the economy's downturn, try to list actual policies of Bush that reputable economists (not Krugman) have said hurt the economy. Even the NY Times editorial board has admitted that the tax cuts are what has turned the economy around after 9-11.

Posted by: Kazairl at March 3, 2004 at 12:23 PM


We (the US) are a capitalistic republic. Of course our gov't has a role in maintaining our freedoms, especially economic. To be successful, we have to keep our markets open. Look at all of history; open markets are the key to prosperous civilizations. As for outsourcing, it's a good thing. According to the USDOL (yes, I know all too well the dainty reports these guys put together), our economy "churns" 8M jobs a quarter. That says that a net of some 8M jobs are lost and reemployed in a 3 month cycle. Outsourcing allows our economy to reshape itself continually in a manner which pushs our citizens to improve themselves such that they can get the higher skilled jobs created by pushing the lower skilled jobs to theatres where production is more efficient, thereby increasing our standard of living through the endless cycle of free & fair competition. I hope you are fortunate enough to recognize this reality and jump on the train, because it's leaving your station now.

As for judging others, I do so only based on what they as individuals have done. Personal example: I have a sister who was born with cystic fybrosis, a particular case where any doctor will tell you they won't live a normal life. She is the most beautiful woman on the planet, but fails "standardized" tests which judge her ability to function as a "normal" human being. She's almost always smiling, very friendly. She worked on her own for 2.5 years on a practice cash register in her bedroom learning how to be a cashier. She started her first job at the age of 19, and has not been without since. Lesson learned: If you put yourself in control and perservere, you will succeed. As the subject of the post reads, "It's all relative." I "judge the man" by how well they do with what they've got, and more importantly with what they don't. Anybody can build if you give them tools, but we succeed as humans by making them for ourselves.

As for charity, I have known the somewhat smelly halls of soup kitchens and retirement homes since the age of 5, as has my sister. Our parents raised us with values, with integrity. They have done so by allowing us to explore and improve under our own power. My biggest joy in that service was witnessing those who I'd seen struggling take it upon themselves to make their situation better. That is what I have taken, and in return I've hopefully left the lasting ideal that life is what you make of it, regardless of where you are. It's all relative, remember?

Posted by: Matt at March 3, 2004 at 12:26 PM

It seems to me that the left is using a different math system than the rest of the world. 5.6% is low for a democrat but high for a republican. That is like saying tax cuts for the rich. If I made 200k a year i would expect to pay more taxes than if i made 20k. but.......hmmmmmmmm....there is the funny math again. if you make 200k you should pay a higher percentage because 24% is lower when you are rich than when you are poor.

Posted by: Jeff at March 3, 2004 at 12:52 PM

I just love the way liberals cite the great employment statistics during the Clinton era with no regard for the REAL reason for the low unemployment rate: the Dot.com revolution! The entire Dot.com era defined the blazing American economy before the turn of the 21st century while Clinton just happened to be in office. Clinton wasn't responsible for those statistics...private industry was! (as it always is)
The reverse was true in Bush's case: liberals seem to forget the fact that Bush took office in the midst of the Dot.com crash and, of course, was President during the 9/11 disaster. I think by maintaining a very low unemployment rate in the previous three turbulent years speaks volumes in terms of Bush's policies. The man obviously knows what he's doing in terms of the economy. There always has to be a Republican taking office after a Democrat in order to fix and reverse the effects of ignorant economic policies enacted by liberals. Let's all do this country a favor and keep the smart one in office so I can have a job when I graduate college. Thanks!

Posted by: Brett at March 3, 2004 at 01:13 PM

I posted a link to a paper about midway up in this thread, if you care to read it. The government should be doing so much more than it is currently.

What your doing is still relying on a "benefactor" of sorts. Perhaps the private funds your working on through this company are filtered down from government capitol. Either way, you enjoy a situation that not everyone in this country can share in.

Good for you ... doesn't make everyone else a dumb, lazy ass person. When you get older you'll realize that life often gets in the way of being all things .... except good providers. The level of your rhetoric clearly displays a lack of maturity in this area. Shoving your good fortune into the faces of people that have less is distasteful at best. ... but that's just me.

Not everyone in this country can be classified as an Einstein or cares to open a business or can afford the time/money to further their education. You should be smart enough to know that. Your argument, and those thinking along the same lines, crumbles right here.

It is the governments responsibility to promote an enviroment conducive to innovation and growth. It is not in it's best interest, long term, to reward flight to offshore locations or short term stock market gains. Neither of these examples foster the kind of worker climate enjoyed by so few .... including yourself, today.

On one hand I'm hearing how people should all get back to educating themselves for better jobs while on the other hand I'm not seeing examples of the "next best employment opportunities". Health care, Pharma? ... I'll be sure to pass those job tips on to the guys getting off a 30year stint with a forklift.

What you fail to realize is that these jobs were/are honorable. They need doing. One day they're pulled out from under the people doing them because a government is asleep at the switch for too long. Now, at 45-50years of age, they're expected to strap on the backpack. Thing is, some will ... most won't. The ones that don't become our burden anyway along with their families. Maybe they become like the nomads, moving around the country looking for work dependent on society for basic health care needs and or housing. ... happy now?

You fellas need to get your heads out of the sand and get real. All of our wealth or poverty is eventually shared equally by our fellow citizens. Turning our backs on any segment of society, within time, dooms us all to the same end.

As for me, my time is passed. More than any generation before this, the young people of today have some serious decisions to make about their futures. I don't envy them. If our government continues to turn a blind eye to the reality of trade and continues to ignore businesses complete focus on "todays" earnings, we're all in trouble.

Posted by: puppet at March 3, 2004 at 02:12 PM

I would love to live in this magic little world where you reside. If I lived in your world I not only would have a job, I would have a raise. When I worked my ass off at my former job as a computer tech for $26,000/year, I was fired because my boss realised he was underpaying me, and replaced me with entry level labor so he wouldn't be short a tech if I found a fair paying job. In your world, I would have gotten to go to college. Instead, because my mother had no money since she is a school teacher, I had to move 350 miles so I could find some work. I cannot get a scolarship as I suffered from clinical depression in high school and had poor grades (but high test scores). I'm not a bad case, and I don't pretend to be. What about the kids who have to raise their brothers and sisters becuase their parents are dead or in jail. They don't get to go to college. Please explain to me how it is their fault for not going to school.
Let me tell you that if George W Bush has no effect on the job market, we need to remove him from office. Let me explain. The white house is the architech and/or the driving force behind many legslative issues. They do most of the work of preparing a potential federal budget, and leading negoations between parties over issues of the budget. They do the same with federal taxes. The white house (led by guess who) bases their tax policy on fixing problems in our economy. Their are 2 main camps of tax policy. Give large companies and people that own large companies more money, and they will spend the money on creating more jobs (trickle down). The other idea is give people with less money more, and they will spend on goods and services, creating higher demands and more jobs to provide said goods and services (trickle up?).
One reason the trickle up camp has no sympathy for the rich having a higher tax rate, is people with more money can easily write off more. Look at Microsoft. They put a massive dent in their tax liability each year by donating software licenses. They write them off at retail price, but all MS does is send the licensing email. One email can equal thousands of dolars of write offs. But as a computer tech, I cannot donate my time to a school and write it off. Hourly labor is not allowed.

And EVERYONE on both sides needs to quit bitching about the unemployment number. I want someone here to post the net job loss/gain numbers. I cannot find the article, but I believe at the current rate, it will be more than 10 years from now before Bush sees one net job gained.

Posted by: Trey at March 3, 2004 at 03:52 PM

Ok, I've read a lot of these comments blaming either Bush or Clinton, and first of all, the President really doesn't have that much influence over the economy. Though I do have to say that the tax breaks probably did act as a cushion to the recent recession.

That said, the easily verifiable fact is: the economic bubble really did burst in the year 2000, at least as far as the stock market is concerned. I went to Yahoo Finance and looked up a bunch of leading stocks and indexes. The Dow, NasDaq, S&P 500, IBM, Intel, GE, P&G, Microsoft, and several others peaked on or about 1st quarter 2000. After that, it was mostly downhill for the next three years, but they are all heading back up now.

Oh, for anyone using I.T. jobs as an indication, don't forget that there was a glut of I.T. personnel after y2k, and that is only now starting to even itself out. When I go to Monster.com and search for jobs, I now get 30 or more returns, where I was getting only 8-15 for about two years.

Posted by: alienintruder at March 3, 2004 at 04:44 PM

All this and no one has even brought up how the Office of the POTUS has anything to do, directly, with job creation or the economy in general. If you are going to blame the President for job losses, then you must come up with a valid reason for that blame, not just circumstances. Remember, the President does not pass, nor write, law. The President only endorses those laws which Congress has passed, and his endorsement is only worth one-sixth of the votes of Congress, should he refuse.

People need to find a copy of the Constitution, read it, study it, do whatever it takes until they understand it.

Posted by: Chortle at March 3, 2004 at 05:24 PM

I don't live in a perfect world. I've worked hard at what I do all my life. I spent 12 years in food management. They pay was great but the hours sucked. It took me forever to get the courage to do something else. So I am sacrificing by working at job that pays much less so that I may go to school to have a better quality of life in the future. That same opportunity is out there for anyone that chooses it. It's all a matter of what's important. Anybody can go to college. Student loans and grants are easy to get. And if you were wondering, I am going to school on a loan from a private company, all of which I have to pay back.
If you were so overqualified, then you shouldn't have had a problem finding another job. I don't think you're telling the whole story though. Sounds like u were fired for something else . If you were so overqualified and underpaid, your boss wouldn't have fired you because he thought you would leave. Why would he worry? Entry level techs are a dime a dozen, so if u left, you could have been easily replaced. Just like you were! TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOURSELF! STOP BLAMING OTHERS! If you were smart, you would have been looking for a better job while you were still at that job. There is no such thing as company loyalty so you have to look out for yourself.
Bad things happen to everybody. So what? Everybody has a different starting point, but the opportunities are there, it's all a matter of what each individual deems to be important. Remember, somebody has to cook the fries and collect the trash. Life isn't always fair and people need to accept that. I started at Pizza Hut as a cook making $4.50 an hour. I busted my ass, proved myself to be honest and dependable, did things above and beyond my job description when I wasn't told (initiative) and was promoted into management within 3 months. Within 2 years I was making $50,000 (including bonuses) as a store manager. That same opportunity is there for ANYBODY in an entry level position. People need to start taking responsibility for their lives and stop blaming others for their situation and depend on government and taxpayers to take care of them. I go to school with a girl who is a single mother of four, she works full time, goes to class full time, and is doing what she has to provide for herself and her family because it is what's important to her. It’s easy to find an excuse not to do something.
Do the math with me here. There are 24 hours in day, 168 hours in a week. Assume you work 50 hours a week, sleep 60 hours a week that leaves you 58 hours a week to get any education or learn a skill. Even if you work 2 jobs totaling 70 hours a week, that still leaves 38 hours a week to do the same. As I've said, it's all a matter of what's important.
As for George Bush, all he can do is veto or sign bills. Brush up on your economics. He cannot create jobs. The free market does that. Congress votes on legislation. The President can only propose legislation. He can then sign it into law or veto them if Congress approves.
As for Microsoft or any other company, so what if they've been given tax breaks? They have created millions of jobs directly or indirectly, and have increased productivity world wide by use of their software. The amount of monies they have saved companies through increases in productivity are unfathomable. If Bill Gates were to shut down Microsoft right now, the world economy would crumble. Companies that are given tax breaks can lower costs and add jobs. Remember, any tax levied on a company is passed on to the price of any good or service they provide. Or they will lay off people. They will make their bottom line. It is their obligation to the share holders. No country has ever taxed themselves into prosperity.
As always, my unemployment rate is 0.0% and so is 94.6% of the American work force. For the other 5.6% of you: Get a job, learn a skill, and stop counting on the achievers to take care of you. We'll be glad to point you to the stairway, but we sure as hell ain't gonna carry you up them.

Posted by: Chris at March 3, 2004 at 05:44 PM

I meant 94.4% of the American work force. Must have been the "fuzzy math" that screwed me up

Posted by: Chris at March 3, 2004 at 05:47 PM

Alien and Chortle,
You guys hit it on the head. I hope you're reading these Trey and all of you other Clinton loving, Bush hating, non-Constitution reading, non-economist, anti-capitalist, pro-socialist, misquided souls.

Posted by: Chris at March 3, 2004 at 05:54 PM

John in Iowa ...

"If you can afford to pay taxes, you should." ... John in Iowa

"From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." ... Karl Marx

The top 1% of wage earners pay 33.89% of all inclome taxes. The top 5% pay 53.25% of all income taxes. The top 10% pay 64.89%. The top 25% pay 82.9%. The top 50% pay 96.03%. The bottom 50%? They pay 3.97% of all income taxes. The top 1% is paying more than ten times the federal income taxes than the bottom 50%!

What do these groups earn? ? The top 1% earns 17.53 of all income. The top 5% earns 31.99. The top 10% earns 43.11%. the top 25% earns 65.23% and the top 50% earns 86.19% (2000: 87.01%) of all the income.

It's like this, less than four dollars out of every $100 paid in income taxes in the United States is paid people in the lower 50% of wage earners. How wealthy are the top half? The top 50% were individuals or couples who filed jointly that earned $26,000 and up in 1999.

So, when taxes get cut, those that pay them pay less. It's a tax cut, not an income redistribution.

Posted by: tx_eggman at March 4, 2004 at 12:16 AM

Maybe the difference could be the result of unemployment numbers reflecting those currently receiving unemployment checks, rather than those who are actually unemployed. Unemployment checks will stop after 6-12 months, doesn't mean you are working. A lot of unemployed are not finding jobs in this 6-12 month period, so they are still unemployed, but not counted as a statistic. I think it's pretty funny that anyone even comes close to believing the nation is in a healthy state - especially when it comes to job loss and unemployment. People are not finding jobs - they are going overseas - not just manufacturing, but technology as well. In my community of less than 100,000 - 1,500 factory jobs were lost in one week here. That was the result of several plants closing - not just one large one. And technology jobs - those are headed to Asia faster than troops to Iraq. I do agree that 5.6 and 5.7 are similar numbers in unemployment statistics - but total unemployment in the nation (not just receiving benefit checks) is much higher these days compared to 6-8 years ago.

Posted by: Sam at March 4, 2004 at 02:38 AM

Once again the Main Stream Media twist the facts to make the President look bad. The total number of people empolyed in the U.S. in 2001 was 135 million and today is 138 million, but the media and the Democrats keep claiming President Bush has lost 3 million jobs since he took office. I also believe these people need a civics lesson, in our republic the President's job is not to create jobs or see that you are empolyed, that job is the responsibility of individual Americans. I also believe these claims are being made because of our declining educational system and to many Americans believing today it is the governments job to provide them with jobs, health care, education and other neccesities and they have no responsibility to provide these things for themselves or their family. The Democrats and the Main Stream Media can continue to make these claims, but the facts don't lie, tax cuts and the President's economic plan have created a great economic climate in the later half of 2003 and continued growth for 2004.

Posted by: Jeff at March 4, 2004 at 04:59 AM

This from Robert Moran, a guest commentator for NRO:

A quick review of the Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment numbers shows that the unemployment rate for young Americans (16 to 19 years old) is boosting the overall number by roughly .5 percent. For example, the unemployment rate of 16- to 19-year-olds looking for work is 16.7 percent. But, for all American workers 20 years and older the unemployment rate is 5.1 percent. And, the unemployment rate for all workers 25 and over is only 4.5 percent.

Even more interesting are the unemployment figures based on education. The unemployment rate for college graduates over 24 is only 2.9 percent. The unemployment rate for workers over 24 with some college education is only 4.5 percent. The unemployment rate for workers over 24 with only a high-school education is 4.9 percent.

Posted by: Rusty at March 5, 2004 at 01:49 AM

For a long time I argued with my father over things like unemployment. I couldn't understand how he could be so uncompassionate for people who didn't have jobs. Then one day I thought about it - he came from a "broken" home (in the 50's, when that was rare.) His parents never gave him a dime. He had a hip replacement at age 13 and walked with a significant limp his whole life. He graduated from college and had substantial loans. Then he bought a small dairy farm, with more debt. At that time (1964), he had loans of $160,000 (equivalent to about $1 million today.) Over the years, the dairy industry had a number of really trying times. There were various government programs, including the great buyout program in the late '80's. My father refused to participate in these programs, because he thought it was unfair to take other people's tax dollars. He just worked his butt off for 33 years. When he died of complications from hepatitis, which he had also suffered through the last 10 years of his life, he was a multi-millionaire. He never asked for anyone's sympathy, and in fact refused to let anyone feel sorry for him. He didn't feel sorry for himself - he just worked - HARD - his whole life.

Posted by: Rusty at March 5, 2004 at 02:35 AM

Sorta off-topic here, but I don't see at all how CNN is biased. Can someone clear this up here?

Posted by: SlyBoy at March 5, 2004 at 11:51 AM

Appearently MSNBC is just as 'biased' as CNN. They have a story today http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4456505/ 'Jobs growth remains weak - U.S. employers added just 21,000 positions in Feb.'
I guess Rush and O'Reily are the only media outlets we can truely believe - oh and the 700 Club.

Posted by: Sam at March 6, 2004 at 02:20 AM

Hmmmm I may speak for many or few of you out there who remember what president Bush says about our economy.
He thinks we are "Coming out of an econmic recession" and that HE (meaning bush) will creat 200,000 manufacturing jobs...When he fell short of this number he denied saying anything of the sort. His way of creating manufacturing jobs is to classify fast food workers as manufacturing a product therefor they could be deemed as manufacturing. This is the same classification as auto workers. If I were an auto worker I would feel pretty insulted, if I were a fast food worker I would feel very insulted that I was in that classification and only making 6 dollars an hour.
I have worked as a fast food employee at Pizza Hut as a manager also as a cook. I have seen some the most highly paid management in that corperation and they never made close to $50,000. Maybe that person went to Cheney school of economic growth...
I have not seen any signs of a turnabout in our economy only that we are sending more and more jobs to foreign countries. Losing jobs left and right for manufacturing and now technolgy and white collar jobs are being lost to lower wages.
I am very most of you white collar republicans driving your Toyatas or Mercedes wouldnt want to take a pay cut to ensure your job nor would you want to see it go over seas to someone who would be happy to have it.

Posted by: joe at March 13, 2004 at 05:30 AM

I have learned a lot from reading this page. I do not consider myself saavy in the subject of economics. I have a question:

How would the impact of illegal immigrants affect the number of jobs that are created or even reported?
I seems to me that there are a lot of them, accounting for a lot of jobs, which I'm sure are underreported, thus artificially lowering the number of new jobs created. Furthermore, Are they not taking jobs from American citizens, keeping them unemployed which is reported? Who is to account for the increase in illegally employed immigrants? Bush or Clinton.

Disclaimer- I am not against immigrants as my ancestry is made up of them. I just want the truth.

Posted by: smf at March 18, 2004 at 09:09 AM