Wednesday 14 August 2002

The Fundamentals Are Not Sound

By John J. Sweeney
Tuesday, August 13, 2002; Page

President Bush has convened a "summit" to reassure the country that the fundamentals of our economy are sound. But will it focus on the fundamentals that working families live with every day?

Since the start of 2000, 2.7 million more workers are unemployed and millions more have been forced to accept part-time employment. When people lose their jobs, it takes longer to find new ones.

There are 11.5 million children in poverty. Health care costs are soaring, imperiling coverage for workers. Rents are rising faster than incomes, and more working families can't afford adequate housing.

Tuitions are going up faster than scholarships or grants. For millions of older workers, retirement now seems more a threat than a promise.

Children are going to more crowded classrooms; working parents can't find adequate day care.

The economy, we're told, is growing, but layoffs are spreading, and now states and cities are slashing payrolls to meet severe budget crises. The president's "stimulus program" -- which primarily gave tax breaks to corporations not tied to new jobs instead of relief to states and localities and help to laid-off workers -- did not help.

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