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Washington Republicans Out of Touch

June 9, 2005

When is President Bush going to level with the American people about the U.S. economy?  This past weekend, during his weekly radio address, he said the economy is on the right track.  The president's statement came one day after disappointing jobs numbers showed our economy only created 78-thousand new jobs in May----the smallest number is almost two years.  Keep in mind that the economy has to create 150,000 jobs each month just to keep pace with more workers entering the workforce.  Last month's numbers created only half that number.

            President Bush has yet to create his first job since coming to office five years ago.  In fact, the economy has to create an additional 24,000 jobs just to get back to where it was when he took in 2001.  

            Let's compare President Bush's five year jobs record to past presidents.  No other modern-day president has presided over an economy where not a single job was created over a four year period.  The Center for American Progress averaged the number of jobs created by modern-day presidents who served two terms.  The Center determined the average number of jobs created by those presidents through 52 months was 5.9 million jobs. 

The largest job creation came under the last two Democratic presidents to serve two terms-----President Clinton, who created 11.9 million jobs during the first 52 months of his presidency, followed by President Lyndon Johnson who created 7.6 million jobs.

              It's hard for me to believe that after hearing these numbers President Bush could possibly be satisfied with the fact that his policies have yet to create one single private sector job.  It's also hard to believe that Congressional Republicans seem satisfied with these abysmal jobs numbers.  You don't hear any of my Republican colleagues questioning the president's economic proposals of the last four years.

You also don't hear President Bush or Congressional Republicans voice any concern over the sharp cut in manufacturing jobs that has taken place on their watch.  Since President Bush took office five years ago, our economy has lost 2.8 million manufacturing jobs, including seven-thousand more in May.

And yet, neither the Bush administration nor Congressional Republicans are willing to do anything to strengthen the manufacturing sector.  In fact, Congressional Republicans have blocked Democratic initiatives to help the manufacturing industry.  Instead, they're more interested in passing $36 billion worth of tax incentives for large corporations to ship American jobs overseas.        

The weakness of the job market is also showing up in the continued stagnation of workers' earnings.  It's almost hard to believe, but wages have actually declined since the end of the recession.  Again, according to a report from the Center for American Progress, real average hourly earnings declined to $16 in April of this year, that's seven-cents lower than the earnings mark at the end of the recession in November 2001.  This means that over the last four years, on average, American workers are not getting paid anymore than they were when our economy was actually in a recession. 

            No wonder Americans are trying to squeeze every last dollar out of every paycheck.  While wages have stalled here in my home state of New Jersey, healthcare, college tuition, childcare and gasoline costs have increased an average of $6,000 for a New Jersey family every year.   

             President Bush and Congressional Republicans tell the American people that the policies they've implemented over the last four years are working.  If the president and Congressional Republicans believe this economy is on the right track, I shutter to imagine what a wrong track economy would look like. 

 Polls show only 32-percent of the American people think the economy is moving in the right direction.  It's clear the Republican way of growing this economy simply is not working.  If they would only admit that the economy is a concern, maybe we could begin to fix it. 

It's time for a new economic plan that creates millions of high-paying jobs, penalizes companies that send jobs overseas, and helps companies confront skyrocketing healthcare costs.  Our economy will not be back on track again until the middle class stop feeling squeezed.