It's official. President Bush will be the first president since Herbert Hoover to face re-election with fewer people working than when he started. No president may have more than an indirect influence on unemployment, and Mr. Bush had the bad luck to take office in January 2001, just before the economy was about to slide into a recession.
Still, despite the stimulus from three rounds of tax cuts, a spectacular expansion of the federal budget deficit and enormous assistance from the Federal Reserve, which slashed interest rates 13 times, the nation has at least 585,000 fewer jobs now than when Mr. Bush took office.
On Friday, as the Labor Department issued its last update on job creation before the elections, the Bush campaign aggressively defended its record in a barrage of interviews and in a new television advertisement, declaring that the nation has added "nearly two million jobs'' since August 2003. "Nearly two million more people with more security,'' the ad declares. "Nearly two million more reasons why Americans are optimistic about our future.''
But the overall track record is much less sunny. In contrast to previous economic recoveries, including the so-called jobless recovery that helped Bill Clinton defeat Mr. Bush's father in 1992, this economic recovery was nearly two years old before the nation stopped losing jobs. That is far from what the Bush administration predicted when it was pushing Congress to approve its third round of tax cuts in early 2003.
At that time, the White House Council of Economic Advisers predicted that the nation would add 306,000 jobs a month through the end of 2004, an annual pace of more than three million jobs. It forecast that the tax cuts alone would add more than one million new jobs. Economists estimate that the nation needs to add roughly 150,000 jobs a month to keep pace with the growth in the working-age population, and it needs to add many more than that to make up for the ground that has been lost.
But job creation over the last year has barely kept up with current population growth, much less overtaken the job losses from the recession and its aftermath. More troubling, employment growth is once again sputtering. Over the last three months, job creation has averaged below 100,000 a month and has failed even to keep pace with the increased number of workers.Sounds miserable. By the way, the unemployment rate in November 2004--after the election so as to assuage the Times' paranoia about Bushco tinkering with the numbers--was 5.4 percent. And isn't it funny how they once said that pre-election number was 'always' political; did they remind us of that in October 2012?
Anyway, here's their take on recent news, including a contraction in growth and higher unemployment. No need to post any quotes--it was a reasonably fair analysis of the current gloomy situation with one exception---the article contained not one mention of Barack Obama. Not one. The article posted above contained 11 references to Bush. And that's how media bias works, Charlie Brown.