Saturday, August 13, 2005

Thirteen numbers that tell about George Bush - part 2

More on the numbers relating to President Bush (see the previous list for more information on where these came from). I've learned a lot from this exercise, both about how numbers need to be taken in context and how an awful lot depends on whether you trust the sources providing you with the numbers. Here are numbers 5-8 of the list:

5. $236 billion - the surplus Bill Clinton left George Bush
This followed the huge dot-com boom and was diminishing rapidly during the last year of Clinton’s term due to the impending collapse of the boom..

6. $333 billion - the current deficit under George Bush
On the heels of 9/11, the dot-com bust, and Operation Iraqi freedom, this is not a terribly surprising number. As a percentage of the GDP, the federal debt is been smaller under President Bush than it had been at any time between 1998 and 1999.

7. 800,000 - the net loss of jobs in George Bush’s first term
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the total number of civilians employed increased from 137.8 million to 140.2 million between January 2001 and January 2004, a growth of just under 2.5 million jobs, and this despite both 9/11 and the dot-com bust. Unemployment levels are now the same as they were during President Clinton’s first term, which is a better base of comparison than his second term when they were artificially deflated by the dot-com boom.

8. $13.1 billion - how much George Bush has underfunded the No Child Left Behind Act.
See here for some rebuttals to this accusation. Education is getting funded at a remarkable level in this country (about $10,000 per pupil from all sources in California, for example) with no real proof that the additional funds are providing a commensurate improvement in educational quality. We need to concentrate on using existing funds more productively before looking at increasing funding further.

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