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August 16, 2004
Fudging the Numbers

George W. Bush's Record-Breaking Economy

"Our economy since last summer has been growing at the fastest rate in 20 years" said President Bush in a speech last week.

Is that true?

Well if you pick the right three quarters -- the first quarter of this year and the second half of last year, to be exact -- it is technically true. Over these three quarters the economy grew by 5.4 percent, which is faster than any other 9-month period in the past 20 years. But not by much. For the last 9 months of 1999, for example, the economy grew by 5.1 percent.

But why take 9 months? If we look at the last year, it's not any record at all. Similarly for the last two years. And since the recession ended in the last quarter of 2001, the economy has grown by 3.6 percent. This not bad, but not particularly strong growth for a recovery from a recession -- when the economy usually

Trade Gap Widens, Producer Prices Tame

The U.S. trade deficit widened much more than expected in June, hitting a record $55.8 billion on the biggest drop in exports in nearly three years and record imports, the government said on Friday.

Playing the Numbers. What about those tax cuts? Who benefited and by how much? Someone who was at the White House but preferred to remain anonymous said everyone did well out of the cuts.

On the other hand....

Jackie Calmes of The Wall Street Journal also writes (subscription required) about the study, and supplies a nice breakdown of the tax-cut benefits (minus any spins).

The cuts, writes Calmes, "will reduce this year's income taxes for the richest 1 percent of taxpayers by an average of $78,460, more than 70 times the average benefit for the middle 20 percent of taxpayers, congressional analysts found."

It seems we didn't all do equally well. Especially If you keep reading:

The issue of who pays how much isn't the entire story in the debate over taxes. As liberal Times columnist Paul Krugman writes today, the Bush tax cuts have "favored unearned income over earned income -- or, if you prefer -- investment returns over wages."

He favors money you don't have to work for. (Well, wouldn't we all if we had a choice?)

They're Back: Neocons Revive the Committee on the Present Danger, This Time against Terrorism

Otherwise, what is the old USofA up to?

Well, Democracy in Venezuela is under attack from us.

Our government has funded, and continues to fund, organizations headed by people who were leaders of the military coup of April 2002. (See Appendix 2). These leaders have received, and some continue to receive, funds from the United States Congress through the National Endowment for Democracy. These are people who signed the actual coup decree of April 12, 2002, that overthrew the elected President and Vice President, and abolished the General Assembly, the Supreme Court and the constitution, and established a dictatorship.

(From hearings before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations)

Any link to a really thorough story about why we're pulling 70,000 troops back from Europe would be appreciated.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:52 AM