Count me as unimpressed by Ryan Chapman’s column in Friday’s Oracle. The column suggests that John Kerry’s National Federation of Independent Business score and the abominable job growth of President George W. Bush’s presidency are good reasons why Bush should be re-elected. I have to disagree.
The NFIB has consistently supported policies, such as the repeal of the inheritance tax and the massive tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, benefiting wealthy individuals and large corporations more than they do small business. That is to say, it advocates both supply-side economics (which the president’s father at one time derided as “voodoo economics”) and the deregulation of business.
The passage of this supply-side and anti-regulatory agenda, which asserts that putting more money in the hands of the wealthy and allowing business as little oversight as possible is the road to prosperity, has not prevented this economic recovery from being the weakest in at least half a century. The job market, as Chapman admits, is indeed in sad shape. Bush will be the first president since Hoover to preside over a net job loss. In addition, those who have lost jobs find themselves making, on average, 16 percent less in their new jobs.
Contrary to Chapman’s assertions, the job market is not improving, either. The U.S. economy added just 32,000 jobs in July, compared to an average of 236,000 a month under Clinton. Since April, job growth has continued to decline, failing in the last two months to keep pace with population growth.
Should we expect any better from a second term of Bush? If he manages to be re-elected, the enormous deficit, which he himself caused, will force him either to raise taxes or cut spending from major programs such as defense, social security, or Medicare. This is in the face of a looming Medicare crisis, increasing medical costs, and record-breaking energy prices, all of which hurt prosperity and make it more difficult to offer job-creating stimulus.
So can we really trust Bush to do better next time? If stupidity can be defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, it would indeed be stupid to re-elect Bush.
Alex Costantino is a graduate student in art.