John Furie Zacharias
having a bad day in a strange place
Thunderstorms Anywhere

Thunderstorms in the Imajica

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Monday, October 04, 2004
Domestic Issues Debates

GOP preparation for economic debate
Last week's first presidential debate topic was foreign policy.  Although it didn't quite devolve into a shouting match where George Bush got flustered and screamed something unintelligible like, "Flip-flopping Swift Boats," as he fell off the front of the stage, (I had my hopes) it was better than I thought it was going to be and it did garner a large, interested television audience and heavy media recycling of the event.

So, what should we expect from this week's scheduled debates?  First of all, Friday night's second presidential debate in St. Louis will focus on domestic issues, but since tomorrow night's vice presidential debate format is open, we are likely to get a preview from the VP candidates' "on message" domestic issue talking points in Cleveland first.

For example, even though Dubya is still mumbling about foreign policy to reassure his shaken GOP faithful with some post-debate after-thoughts at scheduled campaign rallies, look for Bush and Cheney to also boast about cutting taxes, again.  Bush called Kerry "a tax-and-spend liberal", today.  I guess that's somehow different than "a guns AND butter compassionate conservative" that runs up a historic deficit.  But, I was never very good at deciphering spun nuances.

Another economic issue likely to debated will be the spinnable and nuanced so-called jobless recovery.  I went to the Economic Policy Institute to unspin this term.  Created during the Reagan era of trickle-down and voo-doo economics, the EPI is nonetheless a well-respected nonpartisan think tank based in Washington, D.C. whose stated mission is "to broaden the public debate about strategies to achieve a prosperous and fair economy."

Get the facts at EPI
Since 1988, EPI has biennially published The State of Working America, which "is an exhaustive reference work that will be welcomed by anyone eager for a comprehensive portrait of the economic well-being of the nation."

It's likely that post-debate fact-checking journalists will use this recent publication as their economic Rosetta Stone to decipher politically-motivated claims sure to be made this week.

EPI just released their latest report.

"Labor Day 2004 finds many working families still waiting for the benefits of an economic recovery that has been uniquely unbalanced, characterized by weak job creation and falling real incomes.

After almost three years of recovery, our job market is still too weak to broadly distribute the benefits of the growing economy. Unemployment is essentially unchanged, job growth has stalled, and real wages have started to fall behind inflation. Today’s picture is a stark contrast to the full employment period before the recession, when the tight labor market ensured that the benefits of growth were broadly shared.

Prolonged weakness in the labor market has left the nation with over a million fewer jobs than when the recession began. This is a worse position, in terms of recouping lost jobs, than any business cycle since the 1930s.

There are even more damaging economic facts from a failed domestic and economic policy for Bush and Cheney to spin away than that.  Sponsored by EPI, Job Watch recented reported:
The Bush Administration's economic policies continue to fail to generate the jobs that the administration claimed would be created. When President Bush argued for his "Jobs and Growth" tax cut plan last year, his Council of Economic Advisers predicted the creation of millions of jobs. Thus far, the national economy has fallen over two million jobs short of what was projected, with only two states ahead of projections.

For most states in August, the difference between the Bush Administration claim and the actual jobs situation is enormous. Florida, for example, will have to add almost 50,000 jobs per month in the rest of 2004 in order to receive its share of the predicted benefits of the tax cut, but it has only added an average of 14,000 over the last six months. Michigan will have to add 55,000 jobs per month, but it has lost a total of 9,000 jobs in the last six months.
Other failed policy buzzwords you're likely to hear during the debates are outsourcing and offshoring.  You can simply follow these links to find out more.  There are lots of pretty graphs and charts that depict the ugly, unspinnable truth.

You could travel to sunny St. Louis, Missouri to hear Friday's presidential debate.  You could even head to hard-working and gritty Cleveland, Ohio to catch the WWF VP Smack Down.  But, it'll be a friggin' cold day in Alaska, if you're looking for a job.

[Headphones] :: Bush and Brando debate - JfZ

Posted at 09:12 pm by John Furie Zacharias

October 7, 2004   01:03 AM PDT
Heh, nice.

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