Rusty Shackleford takes on John Kerry’s charge that President Bush is the only president in 72 years to have lost jobs. I don’t know what to make of this. Rusty seems to make the case quite easily using Bureau of Labor statistics. On the other hand, as he points out, no one in the media seems to be calling attention to what has become a Kerry mantra—not Team Bush, nor even those “crazy right-wing nuts” at Fox News. [via Dean’s World]
Then there’s the question of whether Bush has actually lost jobs at all. An analysis by the Heritage Foundation suggests that the “payroll survey,” the traditional method of tracking employment, isn’t giving us a very accurate picture anymore. One reason is because it counts workers twice if they change jobs, and workers are changing jobs at a much slower rate than they used to. This phenomenon alone may account for between 400,000 and one million “lost” jobs. Another reason is because the “payroll survey” doesn’t count “a growing but hard to define class of new economy workers such as part-time consultants, eBay entrepreneurs, and even real estate agents—people who are not on payrolls.” The Census Bureau’s “household survey,” which does take these factors into account, indicates a net gain of 1.8 millions jobs since Bush took office.
Of course this all ignores the fact that presidents don’t create jobs to begin with; businesses do. About all a president can do is offer a little stimulation and get out of the way. This takes the form of increased spending, tax cuts, and deregulation. Bush has done all three, and the economy is chugging along nicely.