Under Bush, U.S. Economy Recovers, Unlike Workers
furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Tue Sep 23 02:36:04 MDT 2003
***** Under Bush, U.S. Economy Recovers, Unlike Workers
by Seth Sandronsky
September 22, 2003
The U.S. economy is now growing at a faster rate in 2003 than it was
the previous year. Over half of the April-June growth was due to war
spending, made possible by foreign lenders.
But the nation's job market is not improving, with nearly 600,000
jobs lost this year. Some economists call this a "jobless recovery,"
economic growth after a recession without new job creation.
On Sept. 16, the Federal Reserve Bank kept the short-term interest
rate the same to try and stimulate the economy, while noting the weak
The Fed's slashing of interest rates to lows not seen in a generation
has not spurred firms to hire new workers.
What of Bush's three tax cuts and the jobless trap? "The Bush
administration has pushed forward tax cuts that lead to deficits
while providing only a modest amount of stimulus," wrote Joseph
Stiglitz, former World Bank senior vice president and chief
economist, in the Sept. 17 edition of The Guardian of London.
The U.S. jobless rate was predicted to remain at six percent through
the end of the year, said unnamed private forecasters cited in the
Sept. 16 edition of the Financial Times. Persistent unemployment is
a potential weak spot for the president.
Case in point is Bush's recent remarks on the 2.7 million
manufacturing jobs that the economy has shed on his watch. He, his
administration and some members of Congress are busy trying to shift
Americans' eyes to the east.
For example, the value of China's currency is being blamed as the
cause of factory firms cutting jobs in the U.S. It is worth noting
that manufacturing as a part of the American economy has been in a
slow, steady decline since the war in Vietnam.
China-bashing today misses this structural change by a mile. Welcome
to the politics of U.S. economics.
Bush recently characterized the lack of job creation as a "short-term
problem." If he is wrong, then his popularity could decline.
Retired General Wesley Clark, former NATO commander in Europe and the
most recent entrant of the Democratic Party seeking the presidential
nomination, knows that. He has promised "to restore the millions of
jobs that have been lost."
Some three million jobs have disappeared since Bush became
president. "From 1996 to 2000, the economy created more than 3
million jobs a year," wrote Dean Baker, an economist and co-director
of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
Consider this proposal for job creation. Now is the time for a
government-financed jobs program that pays a living wage with full
health care benefits to workers and their families.
There are plenty of unmet and partially met human needs nationwide,
plus a crumbling infrastructure, to keep these new, decently-paid
workers busy for a long time. Moreover, this jobs program would
address the link between unemployment and imprisonment, with all the
racial disparities involved in America, incarceration nation.
I think that many of the nine million people officially out of work,
plus the 30 million workers whose hourly wages are $8.70 or lower,
would back such a government jobs program. With the U.S. war budget
for the next fiscal year almost $500 billion (nearly equal to the
federal deficit), now is the time to air such a proposal for popular
This jobs program could be a part of the peace movement's platform,
with anti-war activists lending their impressive organizational
Organizers with United for Peace and Justice and Act Now to Stop War
& End Racism (ANSWER), please take note, and proceed accordingly as
you work to build opposition to the Iraq invasion and occupation with
a big march in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 25.
Churches, community organizers and unions also have a vital role to
play addressing the national jobs crisis. Together with the anti-war
movement, they can be a force for organizing to create more social
Seth Sandronsky is a member of Peace Action and co-editor with
Because People Matter, Sacramento's progressive paper. He can be
reached at: ssandron at hotmail.com.
Other Recent Articles by Seth Sandronsky
* Risky Business: U.S. Borrowing And Foreign Lending
* The China Blame Game
* Arnold's Appeal
* In California, The Ballot Box And The Market
* Globalize That: Capital Flight to China
* In US, A Job-loss Economy Emerges
* Mortgage This
* For Black Teens, Jobs Crisis Worsens
* A New Day for Affirmative Action?
* In California, A Racial Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
* In U.S., Slow Growth, Excess Inventory and Mounting Debt
* Bring Them Home Now! <http://www.bringthemhomenow.org/>
* Calendars of Events in Columbus:
<http://www.freepress.org/calendar.php>, & <http://www.cpanews.org/>
* Student International Forum: <http://www.osu.edu/students/sif/>
* Committee for Justice in Palestine: <http://www.osudivest.org/>
* Al-Awda-Ohio: <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Al-Awda-Ohio>
* Solidarity: <http://www.solidarity-us.org/>
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