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December 06, 2005


President Bush's first fiscal year was FY 2002 (which began Oct. 1, 2001). FY 2001 was the final Clinton budget year. You are blaming Bush for the sharp decline in employment and increase in unemployment which occurred BEFORE the START of his first budget year!

The sharpest part of that economic decline occurred during the last Clinton budget year. Blaming Bush for it makes about as much sense as blaming him for the dot com bust of 2000.

Bush inherited the recession. By the end of 2001 (only three months into the first Bush budget year), the 2001 recession was technically over, and by mid-2003 unemployment, which is always a lagging economic indicator, was falling.

(Nevertheless, Kerry continued to absurdly claim throughout the 2004 campaign that we were in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression... did YOU believe him?)

The ship of state does not turn on a dime, and, frankly, the Clinton and Bush economic policies were not dramatically different (in part because of Republicans in Congress). So blaming them for bad economic news and crediting them with good economic news is a questionable practice. But it certainly isn't as rediculous as blaming President Bush for the 2001 recession which began BEFORE his first budget year.

(Of course, liberals still blame Reagan for the 1981 Carter recession, which began before the start of Reagan's first budget year... I guess blaming Bush for the 2001 Clinton recession is no more absurd than that.)

dave at burtonsys dot com but please no spam

It's hardly an unbiased observer that would use the word "slack" to describe the current rate, which your own chart shows only 3 years of the last 25 are better. If you'd showed Carter and the years before, it'd probably be only 3 years out of the last 50 were better. Being 3rd out of 50 puts you in the top 10%.

I realize the whole anectdote/data discrepancy, but many people I know experienced some long-term unemployment in 2001-2004 -- averaging around 14 months. All college educated, experienced workers with good track records. This coincided with national news stories about how many unemployed people were no longer counted because they had run out of unemployment funds and/or had temporarily given up on finding a real job. I wonder if this was some sort of a sector/industry fluke or regional or if it really was such a low confidence level in the economy, those people without jobs were not counted because they'd given up.

It is hardly a Clinton recession when it began three months after Bush took office. Ditto for the Reagan recession.

Perhaps these conservatives can explain why every study shows GOP control of the White House or Congress is terrible for the economy - even if you lag the effects one or two years.

The reason is the GOP harms the mass of the American people who need the money to buy things while showering the benefits to the few.

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