Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

The Dummies’ Guide to Stupid Leaders and Misleading Numbers

Posted in Bush, Economy, politics by allisonkilkenny on May 4, 2008

In case you didn’t know, the loss of 20,000 American jobs in April is actually good news. You see, economists had predicted 73,000 jobs would be lost last month, so thank God we dodged that bullet, right?!

In fact, the unemployment rate fell to 5.0% from 5.1% in March. Therefore, the unemployment rate is going down!! Surely, a .1% drop in the unemployment rate means America’s determined locomotive is chugging toward the dawn of a new economic renaissance…right?

These kinds of figures can mislead citizens, particularly when delivered in sound bites by an ignorantly defiant leader. Let’s first consider the possibility that less people are losing jobs because so many people are already unemployed. People can’t lose jobs they don’t have, and I know very few people that have been laid off the same job twice. These kind of polls also rarely consider the underemployed, who are in as much danger of bankruptcy as unemployed citizens due to medical bills.

Finally, the government doesn’t count everyone who is unemployed. Only people who are actively looking for employment are considered unemployed.

Contrary to the philosophy of Reagan Republicans, these unemployed-and-not-looking citizens aren’t all welfare queens. They’re also spouses, veterans, the disabled, and the retired, all of who have nothing in common other than being screwed by the Bush administration. The “unemployed-and-not-looking” also includes the independently wealthy. Yes, believe it or not, some rich people refuse to contribute to the work force. What do we call those people — Trust Fund Queens?

During his weekly radio address President Bush declared, “We saw the economic slowdown coming, we were up front about these concerns with the American people, and we’ve been taking decisive action.”

For a moment, let’s take Dubya at his word. He saw the slow-down coming. Why then did he spend two terms in the White House providing huge corporations tax breaks in the form of Corporate Welfare, while slashing social spending? A competent leader surveys a bad situation and acts to fix it. Dubya surveys the same situation, kicks it in the balls, and then hides behind Ben Bernanke, while snickering. It just doesn’t make sense.

Back to Dubya’s radio address. Let us overlook his own words, and this particular exchange with a reporter way back on September 20, 2007:

QUESTION: Do you think there’s a risk of a recession? How do you rate that?

BUSH: You know, you need to talk to economists. I think I got a B in Econ 101. I got an A, however, in keeping taxes low and being fiscally responsible with the people’s money.

I’ll let it pass that Dubya’s a douche bag, a condescending, spoiled brat who is more preoccupied with preserving D.C. cronyism than protecting American citizens’ interests. But what I won’t let slide is how he has treated the American people like children when he dressed up a recession in a clown suit and called it a “slow down.” In this regard, President Bush and his sterling troop of economists have executed nothing resembling “decisive action.” They have spent their time in denial and casting blame everywhere but at their own failed policies. They certainly have done nothing to fix the economy.

Unless, of course, you count forcing a shotgun wedding with JPMorgan and Bear Stearns with $236 million of taxpayer money. Personally, I see that as the rich protecting the wealth, but I’ve been called paranoid and moody in the past.

But I know when I’m beat, so if protecting rich people is decisive action, then yes, George W. Bush is the most decisive president in the history of the United States. Call him “the Decisiver.” Tell him it’s a real word. He’ll believe you.

Dubya has been super to the rich, but lousy to everyone else. According to the Center for American Progress, since the Great Depression, Dubya is the only president (serving at least 52 months) who has overseen a net loss in the private sector. He has slashed funding for education, veterans’ health care, law enforcement, and environmental protections. Dubya has repeatedly raised the ceiling on our national debt time, and at this rate the debt is on track to reach the $6.5 trillion mark by 2011, according to the Washington Post..

The economy is in the tank and most Americans feel the strain. They don’t need pundits or politicians to tell them they’re paying more at the pump and grocery store. Hopefully, citizens won’t buy into the ridiculous belief that 20,000 lost jobs is a good thing – a sunny turnaround – a surge, if you will. The economy, like the war, is toast.

The first step of recovery is recognizing that there is a problem. Americans need to demand solutions from their leaders. The only way to fix the economy is to elect competent leaders to pull Americans out of this country-sized grave.

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