The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by J.C. Nossiter
The Morning Mendacity
Friday, August 27th, 2004
The Nossiter Net is cast  to snare some of  the riper rascalities of the day.  Comments?  editor@nossiter.net
“The President’s pro-growth policies… drive the economy and move the recovery forward, putting more money in the pockets of America’s families” proclaims Mr. Bush’s official re-election campaign web site, georgewbush.com.  “The President’s economic policies… have resulted in higher incomes and living standards for American workers.”

Neither assertion has more than a whiff of the truth about it;  both are almost completely contradicted by the Administration’s own Census Bureau, whose 2003 Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage Report can be read at
www.census.gov. It wouldn’t be quite correct to call Mr. Bush’s campaign statements outright lies, because for top income earners, the news is not all bad.  But the Census Bureau report leaves no doubt that for 80% of the population, Mr. Bush’s economic program has been a catastrophe.

Overall, after falling for two straight years, the median household income was unchanged last year, which is to say, flat or stagnant.  Gamely trying to make that sow’s ear into a nylon purse, the Census Bureau tells us that incomes were “stable.”  But Hispanic voters upon whom the GOP is counting, take note: this tarnished silver lining is further corroded by the fact that for Hispanic households, real median income actually declined.

Predictably, those at the bottom fared the worst.  The lowest 20% of income earners saw both their real incomes and their share of aggregate income fall.  Doubtless they’ll be cheered to learn that incomes for the top 20% of wage earners rose slightly.  Or perhaps not.

Women have also been big losers in the G.W. Bush economic sweepstakes.  For the first time in five years, their incomes declined against their male counterparts’.  That widened the already yawning gap between comparable male and female workers’ wages, now nearly $10,000 -- $40,668 for men, and $30,724 for women.  Black households might be cheered to learn that their median incomes didn’t actually decline last year.  Or perhaps not, since they continue to have the lowest median income of all groups, 38% less than White households.  And in news that should be of passing interest to those red states south of the Mason-Dixon line, median income in southern states, already the lowest of the regions, declined further in 2003.  Southern states also have the highest poverty rate.

How the Bush Administration loves the poor:  it created 1.3 million more of them in 2003.  The third straight year that Administration policy has increased the population of officially poor people, they number 35.6 million.  Not even the Administration can be cheered to learn that the number of children living in poverty increased by over 5% last year.  12.9 million U.S. children are now officially poor, over 17% of the population under 18.  The overall poverty rate is 12.5%; for Blacks, it’s almost double that.

Thanks to the Bush economic program, the middle class is poorer, the ranks of the poor have swollen, and women, Blacks, Hispanics, and children have all suffered disproportionate economic hardship.  And oh yes, more workers don’t have health insurance.  With domestic policy results like these, Mr. Bush will have to run on his foreign policy.  That should cheer the GOP faithful -- or perhaps not.
©J.C. Nossiter 2004
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