Monday, November 28, 2005

It's the Economy Stupid!

I was having a discussion with someone at work the other day who was flabbergasted at the fact that I stated that the U.S. economy is "doing great". She, being the good Dem that she is, opined that the economy is doing terribly and is on a downward spiral. I asked her for examples and indicators that she felt demonstrated the poor health of the economy and she dutifully stated "the price of gas". When reminded that she pays $2.00 for 20 oz. of filtered tap water from the vending machine every day she stopped for a moment and began to rant, " But Bush lied to get us into Iraq". When I explained to her that she was off topic she turned red, shouted a few heartfelt non-sequitors and stormed out of the room.
I would like to share with you some statistics about the economy that, depending on which side of the aisle you sit, will affirm the fact that the economy is going gangbusters or will be just another load of garbage from a dirty capitalist pig.
First to the unemployment picture. The U.S. has now achieved a 5.0% unemployment rate as opposed to 6% in Canada and a whopping 9.6% and 10.8 % in France and Germany respectively. Since the summer of 2003 the Bush taxcuts and the booming U.S. economy has produced over 4 million new jobs. We gained an average of 196,000 jobs in the first eight months of this year alone. Now, if you remember, during the presidential campaign the main point that Kerry et al. pointed to as the reason that our economy was poor was the 2.4 million jobs that were 'lost' during the Bush tenure. (remember "the most jobs lost since Hoover" mantra?) So if the unemployment rate and job creation are the measures by which we judge our economy, then we should stop discussing it and all agree that it is doing just fine since we now have a net gain of 1.5 million plus jobs under Bush.
We are not just creating jobs but we are creating good jobs with benefits. The average hourly rate is at an all time high of $16.27 per hour. Personal income has increased overall by 1.7%. The number of newly insured people rose by 2 million in 2004.
Productivity has been steadily increasing. We saw a 4.8% increase in productivity in the third quarter which followed a 3.6 % increase in the second quarter. The Consumer Price Index(CPI), which is a measure of the average change in the prices over time of good and services, rose only a paltry 0.2% in October. So much for rising oil prices driving the economy.
The Gross Domestic Product(GDP), which is the most comprehensive measure of a country's economic output, was $38,392 per capita in 2004, surpassing all industrialized nations. Norway was second with a per capita GDP of $37,379. This year for the third quarter we have seen an increase in our GDP of 3.8% which followed a second quarter increase of 3.3%. These are signs of a robust economy.
On the down side the poverty rate did increase 0.2%. If you believe the libs that Bush and the republicans are all a bunch of racists who never miss an opportunity to stick it to minorities/the poor and want to keep them poor and subjugated then you would not find this stat surprising. What you would find interesting if you are of the liberal bent is the actual people who saw the increase. The poverty rate for blacks and Hispanics remained unchanged and the rate for Asians actually decreased. The only group that saw an increase in the poverty rate is non-Hispanic whites who saw a 0.4% increase. Now I'm not saying that this is good and I'm not making a 'Oh, those poor white people' statement, I'm only stating facts.
I hope that these stats, which are readily available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau, shed some light on the state of the economy. This is a big week ahead with the release of multiple economic indicators which from all preliminary reports will show that the U.S. economy is continuing to show robust growth. Now go out there and support the economy with some holiday shopping.


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