Facts or Rhetoric

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Oct 282004
 
Authors: Ken Zetye

There have been many people recently trying to convince America

that we have something to fear in the state of our economy. John

Kerry would have us believe we must save our money, be wary of our

employers and get ready for a cold winter standing in line at the

soup kitchen.

Well, I didn’t see all of these terrible signs of woe that

Democrats have been harping about so I decided to take a closer

look into the state of our economy.

Sen. Kerry has claimed he will give hope back to the working

classes by raising the minimum wage. This is an interesting point

considering that only 2 percent of Americans over 20 years of age

earn minimum wage.

In fact, the average hourly income of a non-supervisory worker

in a non-farm private payroll is almost $16 an hour, according to

the United States Department of Labor. Further, the unemployment

rate as of last month was 5.4 percent. This is an incredibly low

number and well below the world average.

Now I know what you’re thinking, those numbers were even better

under the Clinton administration.

According to British economist John Maynard Keynes there is a

good explanation for that.

Very simply put, Keynes advocates that in times of recession the

government should use its fiscal policies to cut taxes and

stimulate growth by increasing government spending, even if it

means running a deficit.

This economic strategy has worked wonders for the past 70 or so

years, and is exactly what George W. Bush has done over the past

four years. Apparently 70 years of success is not good enough proof

for Sen. Kerry, or maybe he’s just bashing the President’s fiscal

policies so he can get elected. Recessions like the one we saw

begin in mid 2000 are part of a cycle of economic correction that

happens about every eight to 10 years. In the late ’70s there was

an economic slump while a democrat sat in office. In the ’80s we

saw a booming economy while a republican was in office, and then it

was reversed in the ’90s.

The party with which the president is affiliated has little to

do with the economic situation during his presidency. In fact the

president has limited control over the economy at all. The

president must go through Congress to make fiscal policy. His most

effective way of stimulating the economy is by looking confident

and instilling good feeling in the public. The Federal Reserve, a

private organization, is the real puppeteer of the American

economic situation. The Fed manipulates interest rates to entice

purchases of homes and large manufactured goods in hard times, and

also jockeys around the cash supply in order to control inflation.

If you listen to Democrats on the campaign trail though, you would

think that G.W. is personally putting people out of work for the

fun of it.

So what is all this talk of the president losing jobs in the

past four years? There is a debate inside the Department of Labor

about how they count the number of employed people in the US. The

people in this debate are turning out numbers that would indicate

that the job counts of the past year could be low by as many as a

million jobs. However, even without the additions of maybes to this

argument there are solid statistics that show why total job numbers

are a few hundred thousand below the projections. First off, DOL

stats show that the number of women over the age of 20 who are

actively participating in the workforce has not risen since 1997.

For whatever reason this is it is unlikely that government fiscal

policy had anything to do with how many women are looking for or

working in a job. Next, the percentage of teens age 16-19 that are

participating in the workforce has dropped from 52 percent in 2000

to 43 percent in 2004. This could explain a large portion of these

“lost” jobs over the past four years.

All together the state of the American economy is good. We are

producing at a far greater rate than other nations and we are in a

state of “full employment,” according to the Department of Labor. I

ask of you to think about the facts before listening to the

partisan rhetoric when making your decisions at the polls

Tuesday.

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