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Unemployment is not terribly high. NON-employment is. Somehow the Bush Administration has changed the calculations. New job growth used to pretty well match population growth. Now it no longer does. But the unemployment figures do not reflect that. The reason may be simple, unemployment is a key statistic, and it is a political bellwether. Bob Herbert gets at some aspects of this issue.

Excerpts from New York Times
8 May 2003 / Bob Herbert

      "In George Bush's America, jobs get erased like chalk marks on a blackboard. More than 2 million have vanished on Mr. Bush's watch. There are now more than 10.2 million unemployed workers in the US, including 1.4 million who are not officially counted because they've become discouraged and stopped looking.

      "There are also 4.8 million men and women who are working part time because they can't find full-time jobs.

      "John Challenger, the chief executive of the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, offered a cautionary word to the wishful thinkers who insist that prosperity is just around the corner. 'The sharp increase in the job cuts last month,'Mr. Challenger said, 'should serve as a warning that it is premature to conclude that the quick end to the war in Iraq will bring a quick turnaround in the economy and job market.'

      "The high unemployment and sharply reduced social services are having devastating consequences. In some cases people are being driven to destitution.

      "'This is a really spooky time for us,'said John Hoffmann, who runs a food pantry and soup kitchen in the Bronx. He's faced with both a surge in demand and, because of government budget cuts, a threat to his financing.

      "'These are folks who are new to services like ours,' Mr. Hoffmann said of his latest wave of clients. Many of them are working men and women who were struggling to support their families from one paycheck to the next. When workers in that situation are laid off, they have nothing to fall back on."

This is "Compassionate Conservatism" in action.

The Republican Party has a dismal record of job creation.

Job Loss (-) or Gain by Administration

Roosevelt 5.3
Johnson 3.8
Carter 3.1
Truman 2.5
Clinton 2.4
Kennedy 2.3
Nixon 2.2
Reagan 2.1
Coolidge 1.1
Ford 1.1
Eisenhower 0.9
G. Bush 0.6
G.W. Bush -0.7
Hoover -9.0

The Bush Terms together net out in the red!

See also: Plutocracy


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