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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 rebound.

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 campaigns.

“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 says,
“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 areas.''

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 DeanforAmerica.com.

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.”

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