Rose-Colored Economics

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In his latest attempt to placate a restless America where more and more of us are living paycheck to paycheck, Bush told reporters on Wednesday that the economy is on the road to recovery. Democrats, however, aren’t as optimistic, and critics from both sides of the fence are starting to doubt Bush’s fiscal abilities — and according to a recent poll, so is most of America.

After a meeting with his economic advisors at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, Bush held a 13 minute question and answer session with reporters. According to the New York Times, the session was intended to demonstrate Bush’s concern for the economy amidst heavy fire from Democratic presidential candidates for his failings in that area:

“‘We are discussing a lot of things, and we believe that the tax relief plan we have in place is robust enough to encourage job growth,’ Mr. Bush told reporters at his 1,600-acre Texas ranch as he stood flanked by his top economic advisers.

‘We believe it is more likely in the upcoming year that people are going to be able to find a job, and that’s exactly what — where we focused our policy,’ Mr. Bush said.”

Democrats later blasted Bush’s Pollyanna-ish response to America’s flailing economy and mammoth deficit, reports the Times:

“Democrats responded that Mr. Bush was the most fiscally irresponsible president since Herbert Hoover and that future generations would have to pay for today’s record deficit, which stands at $455 billion.

‘The debate has been much too polite,’ said George Akerlof, a Nobel prize-winning economist, who was part of a Democratic conference call with reporters on Tuesday that was intended to counter what was anticipated as Mr. Bush’s good-news pronouncements today. ‘There might be some question whether Bush polices are advisable. The proper reference point is that the Bush policy is the worst policy in the last 200 years.'”

On the same day that Bush claimed that the economy is bound to look up, CBS News reported that more than half of Americans in a recent poll were skeptical of Bush’s economic performance and his inattentiveness to the issue that tops most Americans’ lists. The Associated Press reports:

“The public’s view on President Bush’s handling of the economy is slipping, says a poll that found only 36 percent of those surveyed approve of his economic performance and more than half – 52 percent – disapprove.

The CBS News poll also found six in 10 think the economy is in bad shape. That is the highest percentage in 10 years.

The poll found 70 percent of respondents believe the president is not paying enough attention to the economy. Even among Republicans, one-half felt Bush needs to pay more attention to the economy.”

The AP further reports that in the same poll people were evenly split on whether Bush’s tax cuts would promote job growth.

So if the poll is any indication of how Americans view Bush’s fiscal abilities, Bush may be in trouble come election time. The only thing that may save him is his aggressive foreign policy. According to the AP, the same poll found that 55 percent of the people surveyed approved of Bush’s overall performance — a figure that was significantly bolstered by his “handling of foreign policy, fighting terrorism and Iraq.”

And Bush certainly isn’t missing any opportunities to play up his victories. In that same meeting with the press, Bush bragged about Tuesday’s FBI sting, the capture of one British man named Lakhani accused of selling a missile:

“Mr. Bush said that ‘America is a safe place for people to fly’ and that the arrest of a British arms dealer trying to sell a surface-to-air missile proved his point.

‘The fact that we were able to sting this guy is a pretty good example of what we’re doing in order to protect the American people,’ Mr. Bush said.”

Wasn’t the missile that Lahkani tried to buy a dud? Weren’t the people selling it to him Russian agents? And this means that now we’re safe to fly the friendly skies? Let’s get back to the economy.

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