July 02, 2003

Employment Growth Forecasts

This statement is my choice for the 2003 understatement prize:

Bush's Record on Jobs: Risking Comparison to a Republican Ghost: Still, Mr. Mankiw said that this summer, when the White House releases its next official forecast, it will probably reduce predicted job growth over the next year and a half from the 5.5 million it forecast early this year...

Given the current level of employment, an annual growth rate in employment of 2.8% per year is needed in order to create 5.5 million net new jobs over a year and a half. Is this consistent with our forecasts for output growth?

The answer is, "No. It is not consistent."

Since 1996 the trend rate of growth of labor productivity in the American economy is some 2.6% per year. Hours worked are usually procyclical: when more people are hired, the hours that employers want their current workers to work increase as well. Figure that a 2.8% per year employment growth rate is likely to carry with it a 4.2% per year rate of growth of total hours worked. Add 2.6% to 4.2% to get a 6.8% annual growth rate for real GDP between now and the end of 2004 in order to meet the 5.5 million employment forecast. (And even then meeting it relies on productivity growth not taking a further upward leap as it often does when a recovery begins.) Is anybody forecasting output growth at 6.8% per year? No.

We can turn the question around. Take a moderately optimistic forecast for real GDP growth over the next 18 months--say, growth at 3.5% per year. Subtract the 2.6% per year of trend labor productivity growth from it. That tells you that if real GDP grows according to the forecast, then hours worked are likely to grow at an annual rate of 0.9% per year between now and the end of 2004. Hope that hours worked per employed person remain constant. Then the economy creates 1.8 million net new jobs between now and the end of 2004, leaving the economy down 600,000 in employment relative to the start of 2001. Either output growth will have to average something close to 4 percent per year, or labor productivity growth will have to be slower than its trend since 1996 for there to be more people at work in America at the end of 2004 than at the beginning of 2001.

Moreover, the labor force is growing at 1.0% per year. So this pace of job growth is likely to be accompanied by an unemployment rate that is slowly drifting up for the next year and a half. The headline number the first friday of each month--the unemployment rate--is unlikely to provide consistent good news over the next year and a half.

The curious thing is that it did not have to be that way. George W. Bush has had many opportunities over the past twenty-two months to propose and push a serious short-run economic stimulus package through the Congress--something that would have been good for the country and good for his own political future. Yet he has not done so. The standard pattern seems to be to say that something that is not a short-term stimulus package is a short-term stimulus package, and as a result get extraordinarily little pre-election employment-generating bang for the buck.

The CEA and OMB are presumably still using the same Macroeconomic Associates forecasting model that I am familiar with. It's not that analytical judgments at the staff level are greatly at variance with those of us outsiders. It's not as if our current situation--with the economy disappointingly still shedding jobs and with the Federal Reserve out of its conventional monetary policy ammunition--is outside the range of the forecasts that were made on every day since September 12, 2001.

So what has been going on inside the White House to block the serious short-term stimulus package we clearly need is a mystery to me. But someday I'll figure it out.

Posted by DeLong at July 2, 2003 09:20 PM | TrackBack

Comments

I'm not an economist, but I'd still like to know -- if the economy grows at a 3.5% rate in the next 18 months and we have 600,000 jobs less than in early 2001 and the unemployment rate slowly drifts up from its present 6.1% because of an expanding work force, what will the unemployment rate likely be in November 2004?

Posted by: Calvin on July 2, 2003 09:42 PM

Inescapable logic, so I say that they'll start Further fudging the Unemployment numbers. Look for more adjustments, announced or unannounced. That's where my money is. When the facts disagree with the administration's dogma they either invent new facts or delete the troublesome ones. They've been doing this since day one. It's just getting slightly more noticeable now.

Posted by: VJ on July 3, 2003 12:14 AM

Could we just lock up the unemployed?

The unemployed are useful tools to the degenerate liberal opposition. They are aiding the forces bent on the destruction of this administration. If the liberals are victorious, the soul of America (tax cuts, John Wayne-ism) will be imperiled. But worse, a terrorist-appeasing, French-tolerant liberal administration will threaten America's national security (everyone knows that liberals can't wear flight suits).

The unempoyed are working against us in the war on terror. They are traitors, and we know what to do with those.

Posted by: andrew on July 3, 2003 12:34 AM

Based on the numbers here unemployment would be between 6 and 7%, most likely the low 6%s.

Posted by: bakho on July 3, 2003 06:01 AM

Mr. Bush had his tax cut plan in 2000 and he has not deviated except that he is implementing parts of it piecemeal to get it passed in Congresss. It would seem that Mr. Bush is not listening to his economists at all. Or else, he is listening to advisors with inflexible economic ideology. This is a big change from President Clinton who ditched a major political promise (middle class tax cut) based on advice from economists.

Since it is clear that Mr. Bush is not listening to his economists, where then is he getting advice? This is difficult to discern given the secrecy of the WH. Maybe Mr. Bush has his own version of Dick Morris? Newt Gingerich? Grover Norquist and his group have a lot of power and need to be placated? Maybe Mr. Bush is using the same advice that put Texas in a fiscal mess?

Another political surprise is that Congress is not making many independent moves on economic stimulus or fiscal policy. Mr. DeLay will not allow dissent in the House, but the Senate does not seem to be very independent either. Apparently, much of the congressional agenda, media talking points, etc. are laid out at the Grover Norquist meetings and Congress meekly follows. When the Democrats were in control, they could not agree among themselves and even if they could, they lacked the votes to get their own plan past the House and the president. The GOP did not want to work on a bipartisan plan.

Is Mr. Bush's economic advisor not worried about the unemployment rate? or of the belief that the current plan is the best for the economy? Maybe this is a rerun of the Chicago boys experiment? True supply siders always claim that Reagaomics would have worked as drawn on the napkin if Reagan would have stayed the course and not signed the 1982 tax increases.

The administration bases much of its policy on religious beliefs and ideology that is hidden from public view. It is the same tactic used by stealth school board candidates with whacky agendas. The agenda is so far afield that the plan and its advocates would be subject to intense ridicule and certainly not elected. Keeping the agenda hidden from all except fellow true believers is the only way to get elected.

Mr. Bush makes many of his policies based on religion and ideology, not science and logic. Stem cells, AIDS prevention, international birth control, global warming, and yes economic policy are all being made outside of mainstream scientific and intellectual circles. It is obvious that many of Mr. Bush's decisions come from ideology that is far outside the mainstream. Concentrate on what a nice guy the president is and how he is just a regular guy, not some pointy-head intellectual. At all costs, do not question his policy decisions or the ideology behind them.

Posted by: bakho on July 3, 2003 06:38 AM

I am also not an economist. However, it is readily obvious that given today's announcement of 6.4% unemployment, that "drifting upward" would require something higher than "low 6%s".

What's the straight dope?

Posted by: siliconretina on July 3, 2003 06:48 AM

Given the big difference between the establishment and the household data, mightnt they just point to household side - and paint a much bright picture ?

Posted by: 49eels on July 3, 2003 06:57 AM

Then what is this about? NYTimes/AP is claiming:
Jobless Rate Rises to 6.4 Percent; Highest in More Than 9 Years

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/business/AP-Economy.html?hp

Posted by: siliconretina on July 3, 2003 06:59 AM

The thing to remember about the unemployment rate is that it discounts out "discouraged" workers. I have no idea how this is done, but the unemployment rate does not measure the number of people unemployed, only the number of people unemployed who are actively looking for jobs.

Posted by: howard on July 3, 2003 07:09 AM

With potential GNP rising faster than actual GNP, there is a golden opportunity to promote both short-term growth and long-term growth if we could just figure out how to induce more business investment. Maybe it's time for a temporary investment tax credit? Then again - this is not a new idea. Moderate Senators from both parties were suggesting this back in Oct. 2001. What ever happened to this bipartisan and excellent idea?

Posted by: Hal McClure on July 3, 2003 07:25 AM

The question is why would the Bush administration not care about whether the economy improves whileat the same time putting forth policies which they claim will improve the economy. The easiest explanation I can think of comes from their readin of the 1992 election. The belief here is that GHW Bush did not lose the election due to the state of the economy, the economy was in recovery after all, albeit a slow one,but instead lost because GHW Bush appeared like he did not care about the economy. This was probably reinforced by Clinton getting credit for leading the recovery while not actually getting s timulus package in place. So as long as the "I Care" meesage gets out, the true state of the economy doesn't matter.

And actually, a continuing poor economy will provide some benefits. The first is that a poor economy provides justification for further tax cuts which may not be politically feasible in a better economy. The second is that by continuing to have tax cuts without any improvement in the economy, it can be used as a talking point in the future against governemnt stabilization policies. In the future I can imagine points like: "Well, the Bush administration cut taxes on average every fifteen months, and that did not improve the economy, so clearly government intervention will not help."

Posted by: Rob on July 3, 2003 07:47 AM

My low 6% number was based on Brad's optomistic (rosy) assessment of a best case 0.1 % gap per year between jobs and job seekers. What we saw today was not the rosy scenario.

A bad economy makes for budget deficits that will eventually lead to tax increases. A good economy would increase revenues making tax rate cuts more affordable. No politician wants a bad economy for any reason. Even though in 1992, the economy was technically in recovery, the lag in unemployment was the reality that pushed the voters. The poor economy has benefits argument does not wash.

The Dismal Scientist published an electoral map for 2000 predicting electoral results based on political alignment and economic considerations. They were very close except in Florida that was predicted strong for Gore, a miss caused by election irregularities. Politicos know that bad economy lowers the reelection odds.

Mr. Bush is very frustrated with the economy. That is why we are hearing the "blame Clinton for the recession" rhetoric. Mr. Bush does not want the economy to be bad. Mr. Bush (however delusional) believes that his policies are best for the economy. This comes back to Brad's question about Mr. Bush not being connected to sound economic advice.

Based on his speeches and glaring misstatements about his own economic program, it is clear that Mr. Bush is being spoon fed a program that he does not understand. Unfortunately, Mr. Bush seems to be relying on advisors that tell him what he wants to hear instead of his economic advisors that should know better.

Not all people make decisions based on logic and clear understanding of scientific and economic principles. This is especially true of right wing religious fundamentalists (as is Mr. Bush) that often eschew science for religious or ideological dogma. Anyone who can ignore the overwelming scientific evidence for evolution and believe in Biblical Creationism (as Mr. Bush does) is subject to choosing warm and fuzzy ideology over cold economic numbers. The policies of this administration only make sense in the context of ideology that is not mainstream.

Posted by: bakho on July 3, 2003 08:28 AM

The NYT article refers to Administration claims of unexpectedly lower growth over the last "few" months. How many times during the last few months, including the triumphant period of post-"Jobs and Growth" tax bill enactment, did the Administration maintain a million jobs would still be created?

Posted by: Joel Rutstein on July 3, 2003 08:58 AM

The NYT article refers to Administration claims of unexpectedly lower growth over the last "few" months. How many times during the last few months, including the triumphant period of post-"Jobs and Growth" tax bill enactment, did the Administration maintain a million jobs would still be created?

Posted by: Joel Rutstein on July 3, 2003 09:00 AM

No, No, No. The Administration claimed that the tax cut would allow for 5.5 million new jobs by December 2004, with 1.4 million of those jobs attributable directly to the tax cut. Look it up.

Posted by: lise on July 3, 2003 09:09 AM

bakho writes:
> Anyone who can ignore the overwelming scientific evidence
> for evolution and believe in Biblical Creationism (as Mr.
> Bush does) is subject to choosing warm and fuzzy ideology
> over cold economic numbers.

OK, so I don't like the guy, but I think this statement is not quite accurate. What I have read in the press (including quotes from the man himself) is that Bush, like Reagan, has a thoroughly useless point of view about the question of creationism vs. science, saying at various times that both should be taught, or it should be a local option, or that he doesn't have strong feelings about this. Here's a pre-election piece on this exact question:

http://slate.msn.com/id/1006378/

Now, as it happens, I think this point of view is especially dangerous, and probably more dangerous than if he had strongly come out in favor of Creationist beliefs. If he had done the latter, there is an obvious and forceful counter-argument. But if the opinion is fuzzy enough, everybody can interpret his views as being not dissonant enough with theirs.

I think the same argument can be made about Tom DeLay's beliefs, by the way. A few weeks ago, Paul Krugman made one of the very few blatantly false statements I have ever seen him make in a column (note that it wasn't a lie as far as I can tell; a lot of people have made the same understandable mistake). Krugman quoted DeLay as the source of the immortal lines (about why the Columbine tragedy occurred):

"It couldn't have been because our school systems teach the children that they are nothing but glorified apes who have evolutionized out of some primordial soup of mud by teaching evolution as fact and by handing out condoms as if they were candy."

The problem here is that these were words from a letter to the editor to the San Angelo Standard-Times, and not Tom DeLay. What DeLay did was read the letter on the floor of the House of Representatives (and then have his press office brag about the incident). It's easy to see how people could get confused, but I'm afraid that was part of the point. Meanwhile, I did forward this info to Krugman at his nytimes.com address, but it's pretty clear to me that this is not an effective means of communication; I have no idea what it would be like to read email from an account that generates what has to be a ridiculous amount of hate email.

Sorry about the possibly off-topic nature of this reply, but this is a pet peeve of mine.

Posted by: Jonathan King on July 3, 2003 09:17 AM

Jonathan King,

I can see the distinction between being the primary speaker of the words and being an enthusiastic promoter of the words (and setting your press office to further promote the words). But is it a distinction with a difference?

DeLay may not have written the letter to the editor but he obviously was impressed enough with its content to read it ON THE FLOOR OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES so that it would be on the record. This was not him reading aloud at the breakfast table. He might not have been the author but then few politicians are the authors of their own words. Do we let them off because it was really the speech writer that came up with a particular turn of phrase?

Posted by: Patrick Taylor on July 3, 2003 09:45 AM

"The standard pattern seems to be to say that something that is not a short-term stimulus package is a short-term stimulus package...."

Oh, you mean this Administration does not mean what it says. Duh.

Posted by: bill on July 3, 2003 09:49 AM

Patrick Taylor writes:

> DeLay may not have written the letter to the editor but
> he obviously was impressed enough with its content to
> read it ON THE FLOOR OF THE HOUSE OF
> REPRESENTATIVES so that it would be on the record.
> This was not him reading aloud at the breakfast table.

No, it wasn't. (Unless he usually eats in the chamber :-)) The problem I have with attributing the speech to DeLay himself are several. First, it was actually written by somebody even more of a yahoo than DeLay himself, and I find it sad that nobody had bothered to chase down the original reference. Second, the distinction is important because I would like to believe that a rep. could actually read something into the record that wasn't actually his or her belief, but *was* a strongly held belief by a constituent. In other words, doing this kind of thing should be a way to give testimony. Third, the fact that it was DeLay just reading a letter gives DeLay a lot of weasel room here, which means he's more than just an idealogue; he's a weasel. Weasels are far more dangerous than mere blow-hards. Fourth, if you read the entire original, the author comes off as being...not that sharp. I think it is very dangerous to believe that Tom DeLay is just some dolt who happens to control the House of Representatives.

The point you make about speechwriters is, I think, pretty odd. DeLay clearly indicated this was a (constituent?) letter, while nobody I've ever heard speak has ever said "this next bit was written by my speechwriter". Words you say are expected to be yours *unless* you indicate another source.

Posted by: Jonathan King on July 3, 2003 11:34 AM

The flaw in Brad's logic is that it isn't political at all. Unemployment is a *good thing* for business since it keeps wage pressure down. Unemployment is also unlikely to bite George Jr. in the rear the way it did his Daddy since this time around the job losses are not concentrated in the white-collar strata but spread much more evenly aross the economy. The electoral strategy is 50% + 1, not "let's get as many people employed as possible".

You can't do economics without politics.

Posted by: General Glut on July 3, 2003 11:41 AM

The news today was mixed. While unemployment rose to 6.4%, the Wall Street Journal reports that some private economic forecasters are projecting somewhat faster real GDP growth. But as the original thread so well argues, how much faster relative to grwoth in potential GDP and how much employment growth will this generate? Enough to quickly get us back to full employment? Not likely.

Posted by: Hal McClure on July 3, 2003 12:17 PM

GG

Explain to me how tossing away over $500 billion a year, which is the output gap, is a good thing? Yes, real wage growth has suffered but so have corporate profits. It's not just the folks who want jobs but can't find employment - it is everyone else who suffers from this continuing recession. And even if the share of the pie decreased for workers and increases for the owners of capital, how is that necessarily a good thing - especially in light of the fact that the total pie has shrunk so much?

Posted by: Hal McClure on July 3, 2003 12:24 PM

I have two points to add to what has been said so far.

The first is that belief in evolution or otherwise doesn't really have anything to do with whether or not Bush is a good president, and as such constantly stressing that "Bush is a creationist" adds nothing to the discussion. Many perfectly honorable, competent and decent people have doubted evolution, while many vile and contemptible people have believed in it. So what if he holds beliefs that go against what most biologists believe? I don't believe in creationism, or even intelligent design, myself, but I know that if you probe anyone without a scientific background long enough, you're bound to come up with some bit of nonsense or other, be it astrology, the notion of a benovelent nature, group selectionism or even creationism.

The second, and more germane point, is that after a bubble of the sort we experienced in the late 1990s, shouldn't we expect unemployment to rise a lot more than in a typical recession? A lot of people who normally wouldn't have been in the labor force were coaxed out of their inactivity by the unusually tight labor market of the bubble period; in ignoring their existence, we seem to be setting unrealistically high expectations for job growth.

Finally,* I wonder what the "Do Not Call" registry will do to unemployment numbers. A very large number of telemarketers are going to be out of jobs come October ...

* Yes, I know that makes three points, but what's a long-winded fellow to do?

Posted by: Abiola Lapite on July 3, 2003 12:56 PM

Abiola

You suggest there was a bubble in the late 1990's that would tend to yield rising unemployment presumably when this alleged bubble broke. People may have indeed been attracted to work more as higher productivity increased real wages but that higher productivity was not the same as a bubble in stock prices. I for one have not bought into this Irrational Exburance thesis as to stock price valuations but even if I did - the productivity increases were for real and are continuing. The real economy's tie to the stock market is more from the incentives to investment in new plant and equipment. Investment spending was fairly strong in the late 90's and has been miserably weak. Anything that would tend to raise aggregate demand should be able to reemploy these people. Now I have suggested we have plenty of consumption and government purchases and am hoping for a recovery led by increases in investment and net exports. How to induce this recovery in investment, however, is the tricky part. But blaming the recession some ill-defined notion of a bubble does not strike me as addressing the substantive issues.

Posted by: Hal McClure on July 3, 2003 01:54 PM

I stand corrected on Mr. Bush's fuzzy position on creationism. However, my comment about his rejection of the overwelming evidence supporting evolution stands. Why would he want creationism taught in schools if he did not believe it or at least believe that it could be true?

My broader point about his ignoring science and economics in his policy decisions stands. His acceptance of supply side economics is based on belief and ideology, not economic theory. Mr. Bush believes that it sounds good and could be true.

The profound influence of religion and ideology is a pattern with Mr. Bush and it has been documented

http://www.guardian.co.uk/life/feature/story/0,13026,933055,00.html

but not deeply discussed in the American press. Those who cover politics are for the most part not fundamentalist Christians who understand the basis of Mr. Bush's beliefs. Although the press often tries to place Mr. Bush as merely pandering to the Christian right, they are mistaken. Mr. Bush is a fundamentalist Christian true believer. Mr. Bush often makes policy decisions based on his religious beliefs that he elevates above the economic and scientific advice.

I am placing no value judgement on belief in creationism or any other religion or ideology. Acting on ideology or religious beliefs as opposed to science may be appropriate in some instances. This may or may not make Mr. Bush a good president. Sometimes thinking outside the box will create a solution that logic and reasoning would not predict. Sometimes it fails miserably.

Choosing to make decisions based on religion and ideology is one way to make decisions. I point out that Mr. Bush's decisions can often be better understood and better predicted from the perspective of religion and right wing ideology than from economic scientific theory.

Many people (including the religious right that overwelmingly support Mr. Bush) applaud basing decisions and policies on religion and ideology. Why deny or disguise it?

Posted by: bakho on July 3, 2003 02:27 PM

That there was a bubble can hardly be doubted. I should know, as I was on Wall Street at the time, working on telecoms financing ;-)

Seriously, a great deal of money was raised from investors only to be poured into schemes that were obviously irrational at the time, even to lowly investment banking peons like myself. Tremendous sums were expended laying fiber over longe range routes that were clearly saturated, despite the awareness that Wave Division Multiplexing was making stellar progress, ensuring that a single fiber strand could carry 40, 80 and even 160 times the amount of traffic that it used to. Given that WDM looks set to make progress indefinitely, and most of that fiber is therefore likely never to be lit, how can one see the gigantic telecoms valuations prevailing then as anything other than irrational exuberance at work?

As for the job market, let me also add some anecdotal evidence of my own. At the height of the stock market boom, there were people I knew who were getting jobs paying $60-80K a year as Perl programmers, even though they wouldn't be able to tall you what non-deterministic finite automata were if you put the definition right in front of them. This sort of thing was true on both coasts - everybody and his uncle could and did become well-paid "web designers", with no knowledge of anything fancier than HTML. I don't see that sort of rosy employment picture coming back anytime in the near future.

Posted by: Abiola Lapite on July 3, 2003 02:41 PM

I have a question... do the unemployment numbers count only people who get unemployment benefits, or do others (unemployed high school/college grads, people who are too shy to go apply, etc) count in the total as well?

Posted by: Matt W. on July 3, 2003 06:50 PM

Good post Abiola. The technology has overrun the web programmers. Anyone can create a web site without the knowledge of HTML. There are programs that do the conversion automatically. You are correct that there was a bubble in the tech sector and I believe also that those jobs are not coming back. Kevin Phillips in his book Wealth and Democracy points out that past bubbles in sectors such as transportation have burst and the recovery was never led by the sector that burst. It was always something else that led the way forward.

As for Bush fiscal policy, he has none that will work in our present circumstances. Mr. Bush holds the ideological belief that government can do no good except promote the common defense. Unfortunately, Mr. Bush came into office just as our economy was entering a period where deft fiscal policy could finesse the economy. Ideology is fine if the ideology fits the circumstances. It can create havoc if circumstances demand a prescription that is not in the repetoire of the ideology.

Look for the economy to limp along into 2004 until we can get someone in office who is willing to take advice.

Posted by: bakho on July 3, 2003 09:33 PM

bakho writes:
> I stand corrected on Mr. Bush's fuzzy position on
> creationism. However, my comment about his rejection
> of the overwelming evidence supporting evolution
> stands. Why would he want creationism taught in
> schools if he did not believe it or at least believe that it
> could be true?

Because he is a weasel. He's not alone in this, of course. Al Gore was pretty weasel-y about this issue as well until it was pointed out to him that the Supreme Court had already tossed out his proposed solution. Clinton, at times, also gave lip service to the idea of "local choice".

Actually, I now do sort of agree that there is a relationship between the administration's policies on this and on economics. Both have been reduced to sheer political concerns, and the substance has been ignored. I can't say I know whether or not this will work for them or not.

Posted by: Jonathan King on July 4, 2003 06:23 AM

The Bush team's economic policies are based on a simplistic reading of recent GOP political history.

1) Reagan cut taxes and was re-elected. Bush Sr. raised them and lost re-election. Reagan pleased his base. Bush Sr. angered his and they deserted him at re-election time. His son will never allow that to happen to himself. Lesson learned: Cut taxes on the top brackets no matter what.

2) Both Reagan and Bush Sr. created huge deficits, but the electorate didn't care. The centerpiece of Mondale's 1984 campaign was that he would raise taxes to eliminate Reagan's deficits. Mondale was crushed in one of the biggest landslides of all time. Deficits were eventually eliminated later by Clinton who raised taxes which helped the GOP retake Congress in 1994. Lessons learned: deficits don't matter to re-election, raising taxes is death, and if necessary someone else can fix the long-term problem by raising taxes after we're gone.

3) Reagan had a recession very early in his term and a recovery was apparent by re-election time. Bush Sr. had a late-term recession and recovery came too late to help with his re-election. A recession began soon after Bush Jr. took office so ergo the economy should bounce back in time to improve his chances in 2004. Lesson learned: Early recessions mean the business cycle will take care of the problem and we can do whatever we want.

4) Bush Sr. believes Greenspan's refusal to lower interest rates during his term hindered a (timely) recovery. This cost Bush Sr. re-election. In Bush Jr.'s term, Greenspan has consistently lowered interest rates which should allow for a timely economic boost. Lesson learned: If Greenspan's on board, we're fine.

5) Bush Jr.'s economic policies not only please the base, but have the additional benefits of rewarding his donors and creating good sound bites for the 2004 campaign. Lesson learned: We'll have so much money to buy so many commercials touting our tax cuts while painting the Dems as "tax and spend" liberals that we can't lose.

Should Bush Jr. win in 2004, other possible lessons his people will have learned will be:

1) If the economy has noticably improved, then all the above lessons are true. All Republican presidents must cut taxes on the top rate regardless of existing economic conditions and expert economic advice can be safely ignored should it contradict this policy.

2) If the economy has not improved but Bush Jr. wins anyway, then he learns that a perceived, continuing threat to national security makes a president unbeatable and he can push any policy he wants, economic or otherwise, no matter how reckless.

Posted by: Robert Rosen on July 5, 2003 06:19 AM
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