Bush declines endorsing job predictions

Posted 11:11am March 1

by Vanessa Maltin
U-WIRE Washington Bureau

With fears that the Democratic presidential nominee could make an issue of his failure to meet projections, President Bush declined to endorse an estimate last Monday made by his economic advisers that the U.S. economy will add 2.6 million jobs this year.

In the past five months, the economy has produced only 366,000 new jobs-to make the 2.6 million mark would require an average of 266,000 per month for the remainder of the year. The Presidents Economic Report, an annual report that has been put out for the past 20 years, is submitted to the president by the Council of Economic Advisors and is based on economic modeling and data that is available at that specific point in time-in this case December 2003.

“The report does not propose any new policy initiatives but, instead, uses the tools of economic analysis to shed light on recent developments in the economy, the challenges facing economic policymakers, and the intellectual foundation for Administration policies,” said Dr. N. Gregory Mankiw, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors.

Repeatedly asked why Bush is distancing himself from the predictions of his top economic advisors, White House Press Secretary, Scott McClellan said that the President is focused on acting on policies to create as robust an environment for job creation as possible in order to help those who are hurting because they are looking for work and cannot find a job.

“The President is encouraged by the direction the economy is moving. It is growing strong-or growing stronger, I should say,” McClellan said in a White House press briefing. “There have been more than 366,000 new jobs created in the last five months. The unemployment rate continues to decline. It is now at the lowest point it has been in two years, and it is below the average of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s.”

But as the President focuses on enacting policies that will bring jobs to middle America, Democratic front-runner, Sen. John Kerry, kicked off a job tour to show the people in nine Super Tuesday states that he is the best man to bring jobs back to Americans. On his tour, Kerry said he would propose creating jobs through manufacturing job credits by investing in new energy industries, restoring technology and stopping layoffs in education.

“Under President Bush’s watch, this country has lost 3 million jobs and our manufacturing workforce is at a more than fifty year low,” Kerry said in a statement to the press. “We’ve gone from the biggest surpluses to the biggest deficits in our history.”

Kerry said that Bush promised that his tax cuts would create 3.9 million new jobs. “So far he’s lost 3 million,” Kerry said.

Kerry also said that four years ago Democrats fought for a provision that would protect American jobs from Chinese companies that tried to dump imports in America.

“But when a company in New Jersey saw American jobs disappearing to China and asked George Bush to enforce that provision and provide the relief we were promised, he said ‘no’,” Kerry said.

But while the candidates battle out the job situation, college students are watching from the sidelines — often confused by the political and numerical jargon.

“When candidates debate about the economy and jobs they are just spouting off numbers, percentages and stock market values,” said Lee Edwards, a freshman at Olin College of Engineering. “The numbers let them float over the top of their audience’s heads because hardly anyone really understands what they are talking about.”

Edwards said that while working to get students to register to vote on his campus he has learned that young people are concerned about jobs and the economy because the issues greatly affect their families-but that most of his friends are holding out for a candidate with personality that will blow them away.

“If we have another Al Gore like candidate we can count on another four years with Bush,” Edwards said. “Young people are looking for someone with charisma and the brains to get our country back on track.”

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