Wednesday 24 March 2004

President George Bush and the Gilded Age

Is it simple greed, or is it part of a larger plan?

Yoshi Tsurumi (Professor of International Business, Baruch College, the City University of New York)

Something really strange has happened to the U.S. under the Bush Administration. With her ever bulging budget deficits and foreign debts, America's skewed income distribution is rapidly making the U.S. resemble Argentina or Mexico. The "Jobless Recovery" is not a political mirage, but a serious problem. America's GDP is increasing at an annual rate of about 4.0% this year. But, only those Wall Street "money gamers" and self-dealing "management aristocrats" of Corporate America are dizzy with their huge bonuses, padded salaries, and self-dealt stock options. The remaining hard working Americans cannot eat "GDP." The U.S. has widening income gap between a few "haves" and many "have-nots."

During the last economic recovery period of March 1991 to April 1993, a 10% increase in GDP increased manufacturing jobs and service jobs 3% and 5.9% respectively. However, for the present economic recovery since November 2001, a 10% increase in GDP is increasing manufacturing and service jobs only 0.7% and 0.9% respectively. Just to keep up with her population growth, the U.S. needs to create about 230,000 jobs a month. If the U.S. wants to employ the 3 million unemployed workers thrown out of work under the Bush Administration, the U.S. would have to create a lot more jobs monthly. Last month, however, the U.S. only created 115,000 jobs. President Bush has now abandoned his earlier declared promise of "creating 2.6 million jobs by the fall of 2004."

The unemployed rate of January this year was 5.6%, dipping only 0.1 percentage point. President Bush hailed it as the "unemployment declines for four months in a row." In reality, however, the U.S. has had four months of consecutive decline in the unemployment rate because so many formerly "unemployed" became too discouraged to keep seeking jobs and were eliminated from the unemployment statistics. The U.S. has over 5 million part-time job holders who want full time jobs but cannot find them. In addition, the U.S. has 8 million persons who have had to settle for full time jobs paying far less than their previous jobs. The "jobless recovery" and the widening income gaps are aggravated by massive migrations of good paying manufacturing and service jobs abroad. Such migrations have been accelerated by President Bush's misguided tax cuts.

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