Instead of Admitting Economic Truth, Bush Resorts to Statistical Manipulation
By Report on Economy
Feb 26, 2004, 12:37
February 24, 2004-President Bush, attempting to obscure his record as the worst economic steward since Herbert Hoover, has become so desperate that he is exploring ways to manipulate statistics.1 Just days after Bush reneged on his pledge to create 2.6 million jobs2 and said with a straight face that "5.6% unemployment is a good national number,"3 the New York Times uncovered a White House report showing that the president is considering re-classifying low-paid fast food jobs as "manufacturing jobs"4 as a way to hide the massive manufacturing job losses that have occurred during his term.
As CBS News reports, "Since the month President Bush was inaugurated, the economy has lost about 2.7 million manufacturing jobs."5 But if the president enacts the statistical change he is considering, this number would be purposely obscured because lower-paying fast food jobs would be added to make the real manufacturing losses look smaller. Of course, fast food jobs typically pay much less and have fewer benefits than real manufacturing jobs, meaning the statistical change would also obscure the fact that, under Bush, "in 48 of the 50 states, jobs in higher-paying industries have given way to jobs in lower-paying industries."6 All told, jobs in growing industries like lower-paid service sector/fast food jobs are paying 21% less than contracting industries like real manufacturing.
The president's efforts to manipulate statistics and mislead Americans are also getting a boost from his allies on Capitol Hill. Earlier this month, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Don Nickles (R-OK) pointed to an optimistic "household" jobs survey as proof that "we're at an all-time high in employment" and that "the employment situation has improved rather substantially."7 The problem is that Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said definitively that "payroll data" - not the household survey - "is the series which you have to follow" in order to be accurate. The payroll data shows "a loss of more than two million jobs since 2001."
"George Walker Hoover?", 04/30/2003.
"Bush Backs Off Forecast of 2.6M New Jobs", ABC News, 02/18/2004.
Remarks by the President to the National Governors Association, 02/23/2004.
"In the New Economics: Fast-Food Factories?", , 02/20/2004.
"Building Blue-Collar...Burgers?", CBS News, 02/20/2004.
Economic Snapshots, 01/21/2004.
"Two Tales of American Jobs", New York Times, 02/22/2004.