Bush And Democrats Differ Over How To Stimulate Jobs
by Hazel Trice Edney
NNPA Washington Correspondent
Originally posted 11/12/2003
WASHINGTON (NNPA) – President Bush and some economists
say the most recent figures collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics
showing the overall unemployment rate falling by one-tenth to 6.0
percent in October is further proof that the U.S. economy is on the
In a weekly radio address, Bush observed, “Manufacturers reported that
orders and shipments are both rising,” Bush said. “America's economy is
getting stronger every day.”
While America’s economy may be showing some signs of growth, Bush did
not refer to another part of the report that showed the Black
unemployment rate rose by three tenths, from 11.2 percent to 11.5
percent over that same period.
Officially, 8.8 million people are out of work in the U. S., including
1.9 million African-Americans. And while President Bush takes solace in
the latest indicators, the nine Democrats eager to challenge Bush in
next fall’s elections have made job creation a top issue in their
“This president is a miserable failure on foreign policy and on the
economy and he's got to be replaced,'' Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri
repeated during one debate in Albuquerque, N.M.
On his Web site, DickGephardt2004.com, the former House Majority Leader
“America has lost 3.3 million jobs since Bush took office.” He notes,
“As president, [I] will work to provide economic opportunity for all
Americans, support affirmative action programs.”
Bush opponents frequently attack his latest round of tax breaks as they
advance their proposals for improving the economy.
“Instead of giving tax breaks to companies that move their headquarters
overseas, we should offer tax incentives for companies to manufacture
here in America, '' Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina says on his
site, JohnEdwards2004.com. “We should be exporting American products,
not American jobs.”
Retired Gen. Wesley Clark of Little Rock, Ark., gets more specific.
“Wes Clark proposes to provide $20 billion over the next two years in
business tax incentives to create American jobs, including in the
manufacturing sector,” he says on Clark04.com. He also wants to invest
$40 billion over two years in expanding Homeland Security; thus
increasing job growth in fire fighting, policing, medical services,
rescue working, and information technology.
As has been the case under both Republican and Democratic presidents,
the Black unemployment rate is more than double that of Whites. The
average White unemployment rate for the year has been 5.2 percent while
the average Black rate has been 10.9 percent.
And that particularly concerns another candidate, Al Sharpton.
“If we do not create jobs, we can have all of the recovery we want in
production, we are not going to have consumers to buy it,” the activist
said in a September debate at Pace University in New York.
Sharpton, whose Web site is Al2004.org, proposes a $250 billion plan to
create jobs by investing in the redevelopment of America’s
infrastructure, including $50 billion a year to rebuild highways,
roadways, tunnels, schools and bridges.
Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio is concerned about the water that flows
below the bridges.
“In a study completed by the Water Infrastructure Network, it would take
$1.3 trillion over 20 years to build, operate and maintain drinking
water and wastewater facilities,” he says on his Web site, Kucinich.us.
“What America needs is a way to put unemployed Americans to work
rebuilding America's neglected infrastructure.”
When Bush was elected in November 2000, the unemployment rate was 4
percent overall; 3.5 percent for Whites, and 7.3 percent for
African-Americans. Though that rate for Blacks was still twice as high
as that for Whites, it represented the lowest Black unemployment rate
since the Department of Labor started compiling statistics for
African-Americans in 1972.
Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman says race-consciousness must become a
key element in “expanding the winners circle.”
His Joe2004.com touts that he has “voted against GOP efforts to end
affirmative action, and … helped draft the 1996 welfare reform law that
moved millions of people from the dependency of welfare to the dignity
of work.” He also describes himself as “a long-time leader in creating
and expanding enterprise zones to attract businesses and jobs to urban
Former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, whose Website is
Carolforpresident.com, proposes a plan for investing in human beings,
such as paying for health care so that small businesses won’t have to
carry that burden.
“If you invest in the masses of the people, you can create jobs and
create the kind of stimulus for the economy that will give prosperity to
everybody,” Braun stated at the Albuquerque debate.
Congress has passed a $350 billion tax cut over five years, less than
half of the $726 billion that Bush had proposed. Instead of stimulating
the economy, as the president argues, Democrats complain the tax breaks
will mostly benefit the rich.
“Repeal the Bush tax cuts, and use those funds to pay for universal
health care, homeland security, and investments in job creation that
benefit all Americans,” says former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean at
Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry does not object to tax breaks, but the way
they were distributed.
Kerry promises to be “a president who will provide middle-class payroll
tax relief to get money in the pockets of workers who will spend it, not
more tax giveaways for those at the top to stimulate the economy in
[popular tax havens] the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.”
On JohnKerry.com, he promises to replace all jobs lost in the first 500
days of his administration by establishing an energy independence
program that would create 500,000 energy sector jobs. He also wants tax
credits for families with college students, a plan that he says will
ultimately help create quality employment and employees.
Kerry resolves: “I think it’s time we had a president who will provide
the only real economic security: good jobs.”