ELECTION 2004:
The Great Economics Debate

Nov 3, 2004


Bush Wins Re-Election, Reaches Out to Foes
-Reuters Nov 3, 2004
By John Whitesides, Political Correspondent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush won re-election to a second four-year term over Democratic Sen. John Kerry on Wednesday and promised deeply divided Americans he would earn their support and trust.

"A new term is a new opportunity to reach out to the whole nation," he said in a victory speech in Washington. "When we come together and work together, there is no limit to the greatness of America."

Speaking directly to supporters of Kerry, Bush said: "I will need your support, and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can to deserve your trust."

Bush clinched victory in a bitter eight-month struggle for the White House when Kerry ended the suspense of a vote-counting battle in the decisive state of Ohio and conceded the election. Kerry called Bush and later told supporters in Boston's historic Faneuil Hall that "I hope we can begin the healing."

In a dispute that evoked memories of the prolonged election recount in Florida in 2000, delays in counting provisional and absentee ballots in Ohio had postponed the final outcome of the presidential election for hours.

Ohio's 20 electoral votes were the final hurdle to Bush capturing an Electoral College majority of 270 votes after a divisive campaign that focused on the war in Iraq, the battle against global terrorism and the economy.

"I would not give up this fight if there was a chance we could prevail," an emotional Kerry said in Boston. "There won't be enough outstanding votes for us to be able to win Ohio, and therefore we cannot win this election."

Bush begins his second term with the daunting challenges of a worsening insurgency in Iraq -- the aftermath of his decision to invade the country in 2003 -- and soaring federal budget deficits.

Republicans also celebrated expanded majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate in results likely to build the president's mandate and ease Bush's conservative agenda in Congress.

Bush captured a majority of the popular vote, unlike the disputed 2000 election against Democrat Al Gore. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Bush had 51 percent of votes against Kerry's 48 percent.

Kerry called Bush after meeting with running mate John Edwards and Sen. Edward Kennedy, his colleague from Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate.

"Sen. Kerry waged a spirited campaign and he and his supporters can be proud of their efforts," Bush said.

"DESPERATE NEED FOR UNITY"

Kerry said he congratulated Bush and they discussed the country's divisions and "the desperate need for unity, for finding the common ground, coming together. Today I hope that we can begin the healing."

The dispute over uncounted ballots in Ohio had thrown the presidential result into uncertainty, as Kerry vowed he would not concede until all the outstanding provisional and absentee ballots had been counted while Bush claimed victory.

White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card made a predawn appearance before Bush supporters to say Bush had a "statistically insurmountable" lead in Ohio and had won a majority of the popular vote.

Ohio's Republican Secretary of State Ken Blackwell had estimated as many as 175,000 provisional ballots could be cast, and counties reported as of Wednesday morning that 135,149 had been issued.

Republicans will hold at least 54 of the 100 Senate seats, three more than they now have, and widen their slim majority of the 435-member House in the new 109th Congress, set to convene on Jan. 3.

That will make it easier for Bush to push his conservative agenda through Congress, potentially making his tax cuts permanent and appointing more federal judges including possibly some U.S. Supreme Court justices.

"With a bigger majority, we can do even more exciting things," said House Majority leader Tom DeLay, a Republican from Texas.

Stocks soared on news of the win from Bush, with shares of major U.S. drug and defense companies rising on the expectation those industries would do well under Bush.

Allies like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi saw Bush's victory as bolstering the U.S.-declared "war on terror." But some disenchanted Europeans urged Bush to heal transatlantic rifts.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bush's biggest ally in the war in Iraq, said in London the re-election of Bush came at a critical time when the world must unite to fight terrorism and Europe must rebuild its relationship with Bush.

"We must be relentless in our war against terrorism," Blair said. "We should work with President Bush on this agenda."

Long voter lines were reported across the United States on Tuesday and few major voting glitches were recorded in the final act of the long campaign.

With 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House, Bush had captured 29 states with 274 electoral votes. Kerry won 19 states and the District of Columbia and 252 votes. Bush held a lead of 3.5 million votes over Kerry nationwide with 99 percent of the precincts reporting.

Still undecided were Iowa and New Mexico, but only Ohio could make either candidate a winner.

http://www.reuters.com


Introduction

“It’s the economy, Stupid!” was the famous 1992 Clinton election slogan.

Among the 2004 entries for best political/economic slogans are … “It’s the Debt, Stupid!” … “It’s the Deficit, Stupid!” … “It’s Winning the War, Stupid!” … “John Kerry: He's Not Bush, Stupid!” … “Bush/Cheney '04: Making the world a better place, one country at a time, Stupid!” … and so forth. "It's Always the Economy, Stupid" is perhaps the best.

The BIG issue this year is whether Americans want to move toward a bigger government (Kerry)... or to keep the statis quo (Bush)... or to move toward a smaller government (advocated by some 3rd Parties).

On behalf of the Democrats, Kerry is promising Americans a job in every home, health insurance for everyone and chicken in every pot. Bush too is promising more jobs, terrorism victory and stable growth -- all of which also add up to about the same: a chicken in every pot.

President Bush and Senator Kerry share a lot of common ground on economic policy. Both candidates promise to cut the deficit in half by 2009. Both support an activist policy that relies on tax and spending subsidies.

Ronald Reagan would cringe at the big spending policies that both candidates favor. President Bush increased spending on education, Medicare, and farm subsidies. Senator Kerry supports those policies. Despite the large budget deficit, both are on the campaign trail touting new spending programs ranging from health care to hydrogen fuel subsidies.

Nonetheless, there are key differences between Bush and Kerry. Bush cut income taxes in 2001 and 2003. Kerry opposed those cuts, but he now says that he supports middle-income tax cuts. Kerry would increase taxes on those earning over $200,000. But that would damage job creation because many high-income folks are small business entrepreneurs.

The starkest policy difference is on Social Security. The retirement program will go bankrupt in a few decades without reforms. President Bush wants to allow young workers to put some of their payroll taxes into personal investment accounts. Senator Kerry is dead set against the idea. He is telling campaign audiences that he will "never, never, never" allow Social Security personal accounts if elected. That's a policy difference that young voters need to examine carefully!

Regardless of whether you're LIBERAL or CONSERVATIVE...

A LIBERAL by definition is one who seeks fundamental CHANGE in one or more of the four basic institutions upon which his society is established. (FAMILY, FREE-MARKET, SELF-GOV'T AND CIVIL GOV'T). America’s Founders were classical liberals because they wanted to abolish every vestige of the political system of monarchy. They endeavored to replace that political system with a republic. America’s Framers sought fundamental change in the established economic philosophy of mercantilism. They eventually replaced that economic system with free-enterprise.

A CONSERVATIVE, on the other hand, is one who wants to fundamentally CONSERVE (i.e., to maintain or to preserve) all four cultural elements upon which his society is established. Contrary to popular opinion, a true conservative both welcomes and encourages progress — but only within the guidelines of the religious, political, economic, and scientific systems/ philosophies upon which his nation was established.

The major difference is in their world view. Kerry/Edwards have a socialistic, left-leaning agenda that represents a humanist world view. Bush/Cheney have more of a right-leaning agenda that values faith in the free market and in self-government under God.

Self-government is the foundational building block of both a republic and a democracy. That is the core of America's disagreement over economic policy -- creating a debate that is likely to further disunite the United States between now and November 2nd. In fact, Kerry/Edwards are hoping to underscore the growing class struggle they see.

Take World's Smallest Political Quiz to see where you fit in!


NOT QUITE REAL DEBATES - Madison.com
Oct 8 -- EDITORIAL -- A recent Zogby poll of likely voters shows that 57 percent would like to see "other candidates" included in the presidential debates. And the democratic instincts of the American people are appropriate. When candidates are on enough state ballot lines to conceivably collect the Electoral College votes necessary to be elected, they ought to be included in the debates. That means, at this point, that Green Party candidate David Cobb, Constitution Party candidate Michael Peroutka, Libertarian Party candidate Michael Badnarik and independent Ralph Nader should be included. Some will suggest that including third party and independent candidates would make debates more confusing and inconsequential. But the experience from elsewhere - most other major democracies have traditions of far more inclusive debates - suggests the opposite. Multi-candidate debates stretch ideological limits, making ideas - rather than personalities - the driving force in the discussion. Regrettably, the Commission on Presidential Debates has not been open to openness. But there will be an opportunity to see some alternatives. PBS' "NOW With Bill Moyers," which will not air tonight because of the St. Louis debate, on Sunday will feature Cobb, Peroutka, Badnarik and Nader at 9 a.m. Our recommendation: Watch tonight's debate. Then tune in "NOW" Sunday morning to see what you missed because of the machinations of two big parties that maintain their bigness at least in part by rigging the rules in their favor. FULL STORY
SCRIPTED Town Hall Meeting Debate ROUND 2
Oct 7 - The public should be aware that tomorrow night's Presidential "Debate" #2 is as phony as a $3 bill. I expect Americans will see "liberals masquerading as undecided voters," as Jeff Crouere reports ... and none of the really tough issues covered by the only two candidates invited to participate: Bush and Kerry. The fact is NONE of the three scheduled debates qualify as a true "public debate" our Founding Fathers intended, which allowed for ALL candidates to participate. That's why this is "Reality TV" prep for Election 2004!
DEBATES ROUND 1: Style vs. Substance -J.B. Williams
Sep 30

Before even I become confused by the pundit’s efforts to tell me what I saw and heard last night, I’m writing round one of the 2004 Presidential debates into my own history book. The answer to who won the first round will depend on who you ask. If you’re asking me, both candidates lost.

John Kerry looked good, was articulate, on message, calm, forceful, yet uncharacteristically respectful. Bush looked tired, verbally stumbling at times, a bit too on message, forceful as expected, but almost agitated, defensive, even seemingly disgusted at points. If style were the issue, Kerry was the clear victor...FULL STORY


THE 2004 PRESIDENTIAL NON-DEBATES
Sep 25

"POLITICAL DEBATE: a public discussion of ideas regarding governmental affairs." -WEBSTERS

The coming presidential debates have been reduced to a series of glorified bipartisan news conferences, in which the Republican and Democratic candidates merely recite prepackaged soundbites to fit 90-second response slots.

Presidential debates were nobly run by the nonpartisan LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS until 1988, when the national Republican and Democratic parties seized control of the debates by establishing the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). Co chaired by Frank Fahrenkopf and Paul Kirk - former heads of the Republican and Democratic parties, respectively - the CPD secretly submits to the demands of the Republican and Democratic candidates.

The first 2004 presidential "debate" was held on Sept. 30, 2004 at University of Miami dealing with foreign policy and homeland security. The second forum, on Oct. 8, will feature a supposed "TOWN HALL FORMAT" at Washington University in St. Louis, where "undecided voters will question the candidates on any issue." Should we believe those voters and their questions will be "walk-ins" off the street, unscreened? I think not. The third "debate", on Oct. 13, will be on the subject of the economy, is scheduled for Arizona State University.

Documents obtained from a whistleblower and published in a new book by George Farah, "NO DEBATE: HOW THE REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC PARTIES SECRETLY CONTROL THE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES," show that negotiators for the major party nominees jointly draft debate contracts behind closed doors.

These contracts dictate precisely how the debates will be run - from decreeing who can participate, to selecting who will ask the questions, to ordaining the temperature in the auditoriums. The CPD merely implements and conceals the contracts, shielding the major party candidates from public criticism.

THIRD PARTY CANDIDATES ARE NOT ALLOWED INTO THESE DEBATES. WHY?

The consequences of deceptive major-party control are predictable and distressing. Candidates that voters want to see are often excluded from the general election presidential debates, such as Ross Perot, Ralph Nader, and Pat Buchanan.

Issues the American people want to hear about - such as free trade, government waste, child poverty, and immigration - are often ignored.

Walter Cronkite, who served as a panelist for a 1960 presidential debate, called the CPD-sponsored debates an "unconscionable fraud" and accused the major party candidates of "sabotaging the electoral process." Accordingly, debate viewership has plummeted; 25 million fewer people watched the 2000 presidential debates than watched the 1992 presidential debates.

CONCLUSION - OPEN DEBATES

How long will Americans allow political symbolism to rule over substance? How long will we pretend that the real issues are being addressed in such phony, made-for-media Presidential debates?

I agree with www.OpenDebates.org, a new nonprofit organization, founded by George Farah, that is engaged in a national campaign to reform the whole presidential debate process. Open Debates has helped form a genuinely nonpartisan Citizens' Debate Commission to sponsor future presidential debates that address pressing national issues, feature innovative formats, and include all of the candidates that Americans want to see. MORE ... Party Crashers: Why Independents Run? -PBS-9-29-04

In the meantime, here are ten questions that you won't hear at the 2004 Presidential Debates... that address the major national and international issues which would reveal to the public the true worldview underneath each candidate's political rhetoric.

1. How are jobs created, and what do we do to stimulate private investment to help create them?
2. Is capitalism good for America, or inherently flawed and evil?
3. What causes poverty?
4. Are the poor always "right" and "oppressed" and in poverty because they are victims of the "rich"?
5. Do nations have the right to govern themselves, or is the United Nations "one-world international government" the goal toward which humanity should strive?
6. Can and does racism go both ways? If it is evil, how is it recognized, repented for, and eradicated?
7. Does life have moral or spiritual absolutes and, if so, what are they? Is a commitment to no absolutes in itself an absolute?
8. What does the word "freedom" mean?
9. How will we ever pay off the U.S. National Debt, now $7.4 Trillion?
10. Should the next generation have to pay for the past generations debt-binge?

This list of debate questions would make a good start at getting to the root issues. Or, maybe we would all rather publicly play games, live in platitudes, and continue heading toward the worldview of the lowest common denominator. I hope not. I pray not. Let's all do our part to restore a truthful debate.

P.S. A couple closing thoughts...

"The Western world is at war with itself. Given time, great leadership, and undying resolve, we can and eventually will defeat our external enemy. We will defeat radical Islamic terrorism just like we defeated fascism, imperialism, and soviet-style communism. But can we win our own internal War of the Worldviews? -SAM WEAVER, War of the Worldviews

"Trapped in the trenches of the current left-right political game, unaware or unwilling to disclose people's basic assumptions or presuppositions about the nature of life and reality behind their arguments, we continue to be victimized by a parade of superficiality, bromides, and playing-to-the-crowd analysis." -DENNIS PEACOCKE, The Great Debate, RMP 4-03


ZELL MILLER: "THIS DEMOCRAT PROUD TO STAND UP FOR BUSH"
Sep 1 -- RNC, NYC -- "I have knocked on the door of this man's soul and found someone home, a God-fearing man with a good heart and a spine of tempered steel. The man I trust to protect my most precious possession: my family. This election will change forever the course of history, and that's not any history. It's our family's history. The only question is how. The answer lies with each of us. And, like many generations before us, we've got some hard choosing to do. Right now the world just cannot afford an indecisive America. Fainthearted self-indulgence will put at risk all we care about in this world. In this hour of danger our President has had the courage to stand up. And this Democrat is proud to stand up with him. -Thank you. God Bless this great country and God Bless George W. Bush." FULL SPEECH - 8/31/04 - Why Zell Miller loathes Democrats -Slate


Kerry Challenges Bush to Weekly Debates -AP
Aug. 26 -- By MARY DALRYMPLE -- ANOKA, Minn. - John Kerry challenged President Bush on Thursday to weekly debates from now until Nov. 2 on campaign issues like education, health care and national security. "America deserves a discussion like we're having here today, which I'm prepared to have with this president every single week from now until the election," the Democratic presidential candidate said. MORE...


Bush Edges Ahead of Kerry for the 1st Time
Aug 26, 2004 -- By Ronald Brownstein, LA Times Staff Writer -- WASHINGTON — President Bush heads into next week's Republican National Convention with voters moving slightly in his direction since July amid signs that Sen. John F. Kerry has been nicked by attacks on his service in Vietnam, a Times poll has found. For the first time this year in a Times survey, Bush led Kerry in the presidential race, drawing 49% among registered voters, compared with 46% for the Democrat. In a Times poll just before the Democratic convention last month, Kerry held a 2-percentage-point advantage over Bush. FULL STORY


GOP 2004 THEME: "Fulfilling America's Promise” –2004NYCGOP.org
“Building a Safer World and a More Hopeful America"
Aug. 20, 2004

NEW YORK - Ed Gillespie, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, and Mark Wallace, Bush-Cheney '04 Deputy Campaign Manager, today announced Senator Zell Miller (D-GA) will deliver the keynote address at the 2004 Republican National Convention on Wednesday, September 1. The 2004 Republican National Convention, the party's first-ever in New York City, will focus on President Bush's vision for "Fulfilling America's Promise by Building a Safer World and a More Hopeful America." The four-day event will pay tribute to the nation's courage, hope, and compassion and herald the opportunities available in this country.
MORE...


The Pretty One Speaks -JB Williams
July 28, 2004

The DNC Convention struck a fever pitch last night as expected when the pretty one took the stage. In classic John Edwards (successful trial lawyer) form, his delivery was near flawless. But what did he say? First, he made sure to hammer home what appears to be the central topic of this years DNC Convention. John Kerry served in Vietnam, he put his life on the line for four months, he was awarded three purple hearts, a bronze star and a silver star in that four month period thirty years ago, and that alone qualifies him to be Commander-in-Chief. He spoke about how he got rich suing those terrible HMO’s, those HMO’s Teddy Kennedy and the DNC designed and insisted on passing into law not long ago. He dusted off his mantra from the primaries he lost, about two America’s, those who have found the key and unlocked the American economic Dream for themselves, and those who have come to expect the federal government to unlock it for them. FULL STORY
NEWS FLASH: ** Business-killing DNC: It’s a bust -Boston Herald - 7-29-04. **


DNC: LIARS OF THE WORLD UNITE! - Craig R. Smith, SATC
July 27, 2004

Former President Bill Clinton told the DNC last night that the liberal worldview is the great "uniter," while the opposing conservative worldview is the great "divider." But should lies unite us or divide us?

The lies of the liberal worldview offers a form of deceptive “unity,” but at the expense of the truth. Furthermore, truth has a long history of dividing nations -- by rooting out the evil from the good. Bottom line: The liberals are aiming at the lowest common denominator by promising "unity" without truth or consequences.

Is America really ready to be “united,” or does the dynamic tension (division) between the liberal and conservative worldviews ultimately make us stronger?

The heart of the liberal worldview is to level our culture to the lowest common denominator by trusting the federal government to oversee the redistribution wealth. Cradle to grave health, wealth and security is the ultimate goal of liberal politics.

The heart of the conservative worldview is to trust in the free market and self-government to empower an equal opportunity to all Americans to provide their own health, wealth and security, with as little interference from federal government as possible.

So last night I give Clinton an "A" for style, but a "D" for substance. Slick Willy never touched on economic reform, other than lost jobs. That was by design -- not by mistake I'm sure. Kerry's economic numbers simply do not add up, which explains why the Democrats don't want to get into specifics -- because if they did -- they would be exposed for the frauds that they are.

Gene Sperling was on "Kudlow and Kramer" touting the new Kerry plan and Kudlow tore it apart. Kudlow knows that new taxes are on the way under Kerry and that capital (which the markets need to survive) will be put back under the mattresses to avoid the tax man.

This convention is a joke and I'm encouraged to see that the American people saw right through it. Look at the polls this morning. Bush is up 2 points. He should be down after last night's extravaganza. The Dems should have gotten a bounce, but instead they dropped.

Interesting NOTE: Gallup Poll: 59% of Americans who claim to be very religious support President Bush, while 69% who claim they are not religious support John Kerry. Who says that religion can be separated from politics?


BUSH V. KERRY TAX PLAN DEBATE
CNBC Morning Call - July 26, 2004

Ted David (CNBC)-What do we know of each candidates tax plan and what is Mr. Bush pushing this time around?

Craig Smith (CEO, Swiss America Trading Corporation)- Well I think the big differences between the two plans are: One believes in less taxes and less government regulation, and of coarse we’ve seen that with George Bush; Mr. Kerry believes in increased taxes and increased government regulation and spending. He believes in penalizing corporations that don’t play by the rules as it relates to sending jobs over seas, job tax credits, and I just don’t think that’s going to work in this environment.

Mark Weisbrot (Co-Director, Center for Economic & Policy Research)- Well I don’t think that the Bush administration can say that they’re going to get away with this level of tax revenue, it’s at a record low. Our gross debt as a percentage to the economy, which is what matters, is at a record high for more than fifty years. And the deficit, if you count all the borrowing they are doing including from social security and Medicare, which is going to have to be paid back, from those trust funds. We have a deficit that’s at near record level, so this tax cut really was a mistake, and I think almost all economist agree on that.

Craig Smith- I think the trust funds are inconsequential Mark, at least from your writing you suggest social security is not an issue.

Mark Weisbrot- Social security is not an issue, but if you borrow funds you’re going to have to pay them back. And then of coarse you have the problem of who is the tax cut going to? A quarter of it is going to the top 1 %…

Craig Smith- Well, lets look at the tax cuts from 1921-1925 if you look at those your going to find that 100% increases of the revenue came from the wealthy. If you look at the Kennedy tax cuts 1963-1965 -- 85% increases came from the wealthy.

Mark Weisbrot- It’s not happening, like I said we are at records lows for income tax revenue right now. It’s not that the government is spending any more than it has in the past, in fact the federal government in spending less then it spent for the last 25 years on average. We’re just not getting revenues.

Craig Smith- Yes, at this particular moment our revenues are lower. I don’t think there as low as Mark is suggesting as it relates to percentages. But you have to remember that we are just coming out of a recession we’re in the process of rebuilding, we’ve got the strongest growth we’ve had this year in the last 20 years and clearly those revenues will increase when we see the recovery come. As we pointed out clearly at swissamerica.com when we did the comparisons. We say that we are on the right track. Mark can’t deny the revenue’s are on the increase.

Mark Weisbrot- Well sure, but it’s no where near close.

Craig Smith - We’re rebuilding.

Ted David- Mark you make a point of revenue to the federal government as a percentage to the economy. Why is that important?

Mark Weisbrot- Because, somebody is going to have to pay. I know a lot of your listeners think, well who cares if they give this tax cut to rich people so they can buy their kids another BMW, you know they’re not going to have to pay for it.

Craig Smith- I love that!

Mark Weisbrot- But, in fact, somebody is going to have to pay. And we’re just putting it off to future years. That’s what’s going to have to happen.

Craig Smith – Mark, you know by your own research that this nonsense of blaming the rich is just that - it’s nonsense. When we look at the tax cuts revenues always increase coming from the wealthy. That’s a given we’ve seen it 3 times.

Ted David - Well I’m out of time, but fortunately we did solve all of the issues and everyone can go vote tonight. Thanks, we look forward to having you on again as we move toward Election 2004.


Bush/Kerry Economics Debate on CNBC with Craig Smith and Dean Baker
The next four years: More of the same, or a whole new game?
June 30, 2004

PHOENIX, AZ (IFN)-- CNBC Morning Call today featured another lively debate between Dean Baker of CEPR and Craig Smith of SATC on the topic of which major presidential candidate has the best economic plan for the next four years. Here's a short summary.

CNBC: BUSH ECONOMICS/JOBS - Does the Bush Tax Cut plan offer proof to the voters that it's really working?

MR. BAKER : No, I think it's a very hard case to make because the economy normally adds an average of 2 million new jobs per year, and as high as 3 million in the late 1990s, so adding a million jobs when 2 million have been lost shows we are still down.

MR. SMITH: That may be true but keep in mind that unemployment is now the lowest since the 70s, 80s & 90s in percentages, so we are headed in the right direction. Remember, 911 impact alone accounted for a million jobs lost, so we are fighting our way back and statistics are now showing we are doing a good job.

CNBC: KERRY ECONOMICS - John Kerry has promised to create 10 million new jobs in 4 years by reducing the cost of doing business, is that feasible?

MR SMITH: No, even Dr. Baker has written that the numbers don't add up. Tax credits for jobs have been tried in the past and failed under the Carter administration, and even under Reagan, so I think if we revisit this stragegy it will fail again.

MR. BAKER: I think 10 million jobs in the next four years should be the norm, even Bush should stand up and promise the same. The percentage of people that have jobs is down two percentage points, which equates to a loss of 4 million jobs. The economy is really hurting right now. Will Kerry's plan work, we haven't seen it laid out very well, but it's clear that we have to take back some of the Bush tax cuts.

MR. SMITH: I don't agree with that, statistics can be misleading. Let's look at where we are at; we've had the greatest year of growth in two decades, we've had real wages move up 11%, after taxes, household incomes are close to an all time high, the Dow was up 25% last year. I just spoke with a head-hunter who tells me that business is booming in the more requests for high paying jobs.

CNBC: DEFICIT? - Do voters care about this monster issue?

MR. SMITH: I think it's a critical issue, but I think it can be addressed and we are going in the right direction to bring it down.

MR. BAKER: People care about the money in their pocket and real wages have been falling, something we haven't seen since the early 90s.

CNBC: CONSUMER CONFIDENCE DID JUST HIT A 2-YR HIGH ... WE'LL SEE...

MR. SMITH: Evidently, consumers are more confident than Mr. Baker is.

EVERYONE LAUGHS - "We always seem to get into this situation with you guys ... Thanks so much ..."


CONCLUSION

There isn’t a great deal of difference between the Bush and Kerry plans. However, Kerry is going to have to raise taxes in his effort to redistribute the wealth to the poor in a feeble effort to buy votes.

Bush is working with a formula that has worked well for Ronald Reagan in an effort to restore a solid economy, without high inflation numbers. His economic plan could work in the future, unless market forces adjust dramatically, like a stock market correction that we haven’t seen in the last 20 years and/or commodity price increases that were also very much overdue.

Unexpected events, like 911, cost money to resolve just like unforeseen expenses in our personal, everyday life. Bush appears to be dealing with them, with the exception of the ballooning U.S. budget deficit.

In the end, those who decide to vote for the lesser of two evils, will likely choose Bush over Kerry, because Kerry is walking down same path that Jimmy Carter walked down. If you decide to vote your conscience, then you have 13 “third party” alternatives to choose from. Regardless of your choice, you’ve got to participate in the process, or you have no right criticizing ANY candidate… so on Nov. 2, 2004 VOTE!


THE PRESIDENT'S ECONOMIC SECURITY AGENDA - georgewbush.com

On May 28, 2003, President Bush signed into law a bold jobs and growth plan to strengthen America's economy and ensure its continued growth.

The House and Senate acted in a bipartisan fashion to make the President's tax relief plan a reality for American families, seniors, small businesses, and entrepreneurs. In passing a jobs and growth plan, the administration has taken aggressive action to strengthen the foundation of our economy so that every American who wants to work will be able to find a job.

The President's Jobs and Growth Act of 2003 will create jobs and grow the economy by:
· Speeding up the 2001 tax cuts to increase the pace of economic recovery and job creation
· Encouraging job-creating investment in America's businesses by providing dividend and capital gains tax relief and giving small businesses incentives to grow
· Providing $20 billion in aid to States for necessary services The President's tax relief will allow the American people to keep more of their own money to spend, save and invest; encourage individuals and businesses to make new investments that will lead to economic growth and job creation; and deliver critical help to unemployed citizens.

Relief for all Americans

Who benefits under the President's plan?
· The Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 will deliver substantial tax relief to 91 million American taxpayers. Middle-income families will receive additional relief from accelerated reduction of the marriage penalty, a faster increase in the child tax credit, and immediate implementation of the new, lower 10 percent tax bracket.
· Everyone who invests in the stock market and receives dividend income-especially seniors-will benefit from dividend tax relief. Half of all dividend income goes to America's seniors, who often rely on those checks for a steady source of retirement income.
· Every small business owner who purchases equipment to grow and expand will get assistance through an increase in the expensing limits from $25,000 to $100,000. · Unemployed workers received an additional 13 week extension of their federal unemployment benefits, allowing them the support they need while looking to rejoin the workforce.
The Jobs and Growth Act builds on the success of the President's 2001 tax cut. The President recognized that the time to deliver this relief is now - when it can do the most good for families, businesses, and the economy - not years from now.

Under the jobs and growth act, 91 million taxpayers will receive, on average, a tax cut of $1,126 in 2003.
· 68 million women will see their taxes decline, on average, by $1,338.
· 34 million families with children will benefit from an average tax cut of $1,549.
· 23 million small business owners will receive tax cuts averaging $2,209.
· 12 million elderly taxpayers will receive an average tax cut of $1,401.
· 6 million single women with children will receive an average tax cut of $558.
· 3 million individuals and families will have their income tax liability completely eliminated by the Act.

Helping American Families

The President's plan helps working Americans by focusing tax relief directly at moderate-income families and those with children. The plan:
· Accelerates marriage penalty relief by increasing the standard deduction and expanding the 15-percent tax bracket for couples in 2003. An estimated 45 million married couples will benefit from this provision;
· Raises the child tax credit from $600 to $1,000 per child this year, instead of in the year 2010. An estimated 34 million families with children will benefit from this provision; and
· Moves several million working Americans into the lower 10-percent tax bracket immediately, allowing them to keep more of their income.
For example, a married couple with two children and income of $40,000 will see their taxes decline under the President's jobs and growth law by $1,133 (from $1,178 to $45) in 2003, a decline of 96 percent.

The President's Plan to Strengthen Retirement Security

President Bush believes that we need to explore new ways to ensure that Social Security remains strong and financially secure for America's children and grandchildren. The President formed a bipartisan Presidential Commission to review Social Security and recommend reforms to put the system on sound financial ground. He has repeatedly stressed the need for modernization of the Social Security System. President Bush has also proposed solutions to strengthen pension plans and enhance retirement security for all Americans.

The President's plan to strengthen retirement security includes:
· Creating a Society of Stakeholders: President Bush supports the creation of Individual Development Accounts, providing savings matches for low-income Americans to accounts that would grow tax-free. The President's Social Security framework would also give all wage earners the opportunity to invest in financial assets, an opportunity that only half of Americans can now afford.
· Expanding Ownership of Retirement Assets: The tax relief legislation signed into law by the President in 2001 provided almost $50 billion dollars of tax relief over the next ten years to strengthen retirement security.
· Ensuring Freedom of Choice: The President's proposal would ensure that workers who have participated in 401(k) plans for three years are given the freedom to choose where to invest their retirement savings. The President has also proposed that choice be a feature of Social Security itself, allowing individuals to voluntarily invest a portion of their Social Security taxes in personal retirement accounts.
· Minimizing Risk through Diversification: The President's proposals would ensure that workers can sell company stock and diversify into other investment options, minimizing their risk.
· Strengthening Women's Retirement Security: The President signed into law legislation that would allow for "catch up" contributions to retirement plans, helping millions of American women who took time out from the work force to care for dependent family members. The President's Social Security Commission also made a number of recommendations to vastly improve the treatment of women through Social Security, including the creation of property rights in a personal account for every woman who experiences a divorce, expanded benefits for widows, and new "anti-poverty" benefit guarantees that would benefit women.
· Helping Future Generations Achieve the American Dream: The President has proposed extending Social Security to include inheritable assets. This provision would assist communities where life expectancies are unfortunately shorter than national averages, including African American households.
· Spurring National Saving and Economic Growth: Tax relief legislation signed into law by the President will accelerate economic growth by expanding national saving. The President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security has found that the President's Social Security initiative would "lead to increased national saving" in a way that is necessary to foster long-term economic growth.

Encourage Job-Creating Investment in America's Economy

The new jobs and growth law encourages individuals and businesses to invest in America's economy. Reduction in Individual Tax Rates on Dividends and Capital Gains
· Roughly 35 million American households receive dividend income that is taxable and will directly benefit under the President's plan. More than half of these dividends go to America's seniors, many of whom rely on these checks for a steady source of income in their retirement.
· Almost half of all savings from the dividend tax cut under the President's plan would go to taxpayers 65 and older.
· The new law will reduce dividend and capital gains taxes for millions of stockholders -pumping billions into the economy this year alone. Twenty-six million taxpayers with income from dividends and capital gains will receive an average tax cut of $798.

Increase Incentives for Small Businesses to Grow

· Small businesses create the majority of new jobs and account for half the output of the economy. Their vitality is critical to America's economic health and the President's plan provides important incentives for their economic growth.
· Current tax laws permit small business owners to write off as expenses up to $25,000 worth of equipment purchases. The President's plan will increase that limit to $100,000 and index it to inflation - encouraging them to buy the technology, machinery, and other equipment they need to expand.
· If small business owners invest more than $100,000, they qualify for a 50 percent bonus depreciation that further reduces the cost of investment - encouraging investment that grows businesses and creates jobs.

Turning Recovery into Prosperity

· The President's jobs and growth law will provide $109 billion in tax relief this year alone. It will spur real overall economic growth, yet it is disciplined and tailored to address specific challenges.
· The American economy is strong, but it must be stronger. The President's plan is a focused effort designed to remove the obstacles standing in the way of faster growth and greater progress.
· President Bush will not be satisfied until every American who wants a job can find one; until every business has a chance to grow; and until we turn our economic recovery into lasting prosperity that reaches every corner of America.

FULL BUSH PLAN


RESTORING JOBS AND REBUILDING OUR ECONOMY - JohnKerry.com

George W Bush has chosen tax cuts for the wealthy and special favors for the special interests over our economic future. John Kerry's priority will be middle class families who are working hard to cover the mortgage, pay the high cost of health care, child care and tuition, or just trying to get ahead.

The first thing John Kerry will do is fight his heart out to bring back the three million jobs that have been lost under George W. Bush. He will fight to restore the jobs lost under Bush in the first 500 days of his administration. Kerry has proposed creating jobs through a new manufacturing jobs credit, by investing in new energy industries, restoring technology, and stopping layoffs in education.

John Kerry has a plan to secure America's economic future and ensure that workers can achieve the American dream in our changing economy. John Kerry has the courage to roll back Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans so we can invest in education and healthcare. He isn't afraid to crack down on corporations that are hiding their money in Bermuda to avoid paying their fair share and will end special tax giveaways to companies that ship jobs abroad. And he will defend the rights of workers, consumers and shareholders in holding corporations accountable for their actions.

John Kerry's Plan to Create 10 Million Jobs

The Most Sweeping International Tax Reform in Over Four Decades in Order to Encourage Companies to Create Jobs in America and Stop Shifting Jobs Overseas for Tax Reasons

John Kerry is unveiling a comprehensive economic agenda that will unleash the productive potential of America's economy to help it create 10 million jobs in his first term as President. Over the next several weeks, Kerry will unveil a series of proposals that will restore confidence in the economy and spur job creation.

John Kerry: Protecting America's Jobs

Outline Places to Address Outsourcing - Part of Comprehensive Plan for American Jobs "Under this Administration, America's middle class has been abandoned - its dreams denied, its Main Street interests ignored and its mainstream values scorned by a White House that puts privilege first," said John Kerry. "Middle class Americans don't ask for special favors, they just want basic fairness, and a President who fights for that ideal."

John Kerry Jobs Tour

While President Bush continues to send jobs overseas, today Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, elected officials and labor leaders will fan out to Super Tuesday states as part of a nationwide jobs tour to meet and talk with workers about the devastating impact of the Bush economy on middle class families and outline John Kerry's plan to put America back on track.

Priorities

Reviving American Manufacturing
State Tax Relief and Education Fund to Create Jobs and Stop Painful Budget Cuts
Provide Tax Relief to Middle Class Families
Prepare Americans for 21st Century Jobs by Opening the Doors of College for All
Making Corporate America Live by America's Values
Protect the American Worker
Restore Fiscal Discipline to Washington
Earned Legalization
Close the Pay Gap
Expand Economic Opportunity for Women

FULL KERRY PLAN


Kerry on Economic issues - The Federalist's Kerry-04.com

On the economy, John Kerry is the antithesis of Ronald Reagan's supply-side revolution. John Kerry opposes the economic growth-related elements of President Bush's three years of tax cuts, including the reduction on capital gains and dividends and increasing IRA contribution limits.

In December 2002, however, Kerry called for the end of "double taxation" on dividends, perceiving the need to promote investment and more accurate corporate valuation. A mere five weeks later, Kerry voted against President Bush's plan to eliminate double taxation, which was nonetheless passed by Congress and signed into law. Now, Candidate Kerry plans to restore the system of double taxation on corporate dividends if elected.

All too telling, Kerry also opposes the elimination of the infamous death tax. Kerry's latest vote against the Bush tax cuts marked at least his tenth vote against tax relief over the course of his Senate career. In true form, Kerry voted in favor the largest tax increase in the history of the United States under Bill Clinton.

Not even a consistent demand-sider, Kerry has voted against balanced budget amendments no less than five times, and logged three key votes against overall reductions in federal government spending. Nevertheless, in his campaign platform, Kerry says, "Bush's irresponsible economic policies have borrowed from future generations. I will cut the deficit in half in my first term, while investing in economic growth and American workers." In other words, John Kerry is prepared to cut deficits by increasing taxes, not by reducing spending.

Concerning Kerry's spending habits of taxpayer money, the fiscally conservative group Citizens Against Government Waste, John Kerry scores a dismal lifetime rating of 26%.

Finally, a Kerry position isn't a Kerry position without a flip-flop. In September 2001, Kerry said, "The first priority is the economy of our nation. And when you have a downturn in the economy, the last thing you do is raise taxes or cut spending. We shouldn't do either. We need to maintain a course that hopefully will stimulate the economy.... No, we should not raise taxes, but we have to put everything on the table to take a look at why we have this structural problem today. ...you don't want to raise taxes."

Now, however, Kerry says in his election platform, "I will roll back Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans to invest in education and healthcare." In other words, Kerry advocates the redistribution of income to achieve social goals (a.k.a. Socialism), rather than allowing citizens the maximal use of their wealth to create more wealth, to the betterment of all.

Social Security & Healthcare

When it comes to the costliest, most economically dangerous entitlements in our country -- Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid -- John Kerry opposes desperately needed reforms, such as partial privatization, that would take America off this precipitous and unsustainable path. In his platform, Kerry offers the basis of a plan to offer near-universal health coverage to American, saying, "My plan expands health care coverage to 96 percent of Americans and 99 percent of all children."

What John Kerry is really saying, though, is that he doesn't believe in the free market, and would see the United States spiral into the same socialized healthcare abyss that now consumes Canada and many European nations.

Also, for better or for worse, Kerry is no fan of Al Gore's Social Security "Lock Box," if his congressional record is any indication, voting at least five times to raid the fund.

In his platform, however, Kerry revisits the lock box theme, vowing to "take Social Security off the table when balancing the budget." At the same time, Kerry opposes even partial privatization of Social Security, on the grounds privatization would "cost" $1 trillion, causing deficits to spiral. By "cost" of course, Senator Kerry means loss of government revenue. But why would this matter, you might ask, if Kerry, in "lock box" fashion, vows to take Social Security "off the table" when balancing the budget? Good question.

MORE ...


CANDIDATES TAKE A THRASHING OVER ECONOMICS -UPI
By Dar Haddix
UPI Business Correspondent 5/26/2004

WASHINGTON, May 26 (UPI) -- Though Bush and Kerry claim to be on opposite sides of the economic fence, participants in a discussion at Libertarian think tank Cato Institute indicated that both candidates have made some of the same mistakes.

Panelists at a Cato forum Tuesday bashed both Bush and Kerry for overspending and trade foibles, but Bush fared far better on tax policy than Kerry.

Chris Edwards, tax analyst at Cato, said during Tuesday's discussion that the next president will have an important influence on fiscal policy. For one thing, "He will be the last president before the gigantic entitlement-cost explosion begins starting around 2008."

Medicare and Medicaid costs are rising by $50 billion a year now but will be rising by about $100 billion a year after 2008, he said. Also, the next president will decide whether to keep the Bush tax cuts or keep them permanent, and also control spending or create a bigger financial burden for whoever takes over the presidency in 2009.

Edwards' outlook on either candidate's spending competency was hardly optimistic.

"Like Bush, John Kerry doesn't seem that interested in fiscal budget issues," Edwards said. "Senator Kerry is not a Democratic spending hawk." The National Journal scored Kerry as the most liberal senator in 2003.

"The risk if he's elected is that he wouldn't listen to the boring Bob Rubin, 'reduce the deficit' advice -- he'd want a big legislative achievement and it would be something to make the liberal base of his party happy such as universal health care," Edwards said.

However, with a Republican Congress he may well govern from a centrist position like Clinton did, Edwards said.

Edwards had no kind words for the incumbent's spending either. "Bush has a terrible overspending record."

Edwards criticized Bush for not vetoing a bill Congress passed in January of this year that included 8000 pork barrel projects, as well as Bush's proposals for a mission to Mars and extra funding he's requesting for Iraq.

Edwards criticized Bush as using up his valuable campaign time touting "bite-size" spending proposals instead of talking about ways to cut the deficit.

Based on spending issues, "The Republican party basically seems to be running Bill Clinton for their White House candidate this year," he said.

Edwards also slammed inconsistencies and shortfalls in Kerry's spending proposals. He noted that Kerry wants to cut taxes for the middle class, restore pay-go budget rules, restrain spending for certain programs and cut corporate welfare. However, Kerry only wants to curb spending for programs other than defense, entitlements and education, but that leaves only 16 percent of the budget. Kerry is also proposing several new corporate welfare programs, Edwards said. In fact, on Kerry's Web site it lists 79 new programs or spending increases, including several big-ticket items like $650 billion for universal health care over 10 years, as well as several smaller "micromanaged" programs, like canceling student loans for engineering and computer science students if they get jobs in manufacturing.

Edwards cited a laundry list of unfortunate spending similarities. Neither candidate identifies any substantial programs they'd like to cut; their campaign speeches are filled with demands for more money; they both support large intrusions into state and local policies" like K-12 school spending; Bush's proposed health-care program would cost $90 billion, and Kerry's $650 billion; both support more business subsidies.

"On spending they're both pretty well indistinguishable," Edwards said. Edwards was more receptive to Bush's tax policy.

Kerry wants to repeal Bush's tax cuts for those who make more than $200,000 annually -- the top 2 percent of household incomes.

Edwards said Kerry's plan to repeal tax cuts for wealthy is problematic for several reasons. For one thing, he said, increasing taxes on wealthy Americans is bad economics. "They're not just rich people -- about two-thirds of them are small business owners," Edwards said. "Academic research clearly shows that increasing taxes on small business reduces job creation and reduces small business investment."

It's also not fair, Edwards said, since those who make more than $200,000 per year pay about 26 percent of their income in taxes, compared to middle-income residents that only pay 10 to 15 percent, he said.

The clearest difference between the two is how they view social security, he said, noting that Kerry said he would "never never never" privatize social security.

"Social Security is a huge issue. I hope young Americans take note of Senator Kerry's position on the issue," he said.

Gary Hufbauer, Reginald Jones Senior Fellow at the Institute for International Economics, also expressed concern about the burgeoning costs of entitlements. "Neither candidate has addressed or will they address the dominant fiscal problem of our times and for the next several decades, which is the rising burden of entitlements."

Historically he said the United States has borne a tax burden of about 19 percent. When it rises above that, there's a tax cut. "We are either going to breach this historical 19 percent ceiling or these entitlements are going to have to be cut, or both, but ... the next president can postpone this to his successor because the crisis will likely not hit in the next four years," he said.

"I don't think the debt level to GDP ratio is high enough or the turmoil we might see in the exchange market is great enough [to cause a crisis in the next four years] ... but it is in the cards," he said.

There are few examples of countries reducing their entitlements gradually, Hufbauer said, but cited Britain as the best example.

Hufbauer said that the tax savings Kerry said he could achieve -- $850 billion over ten years -- would be offset by spending proposals that would cost at least that much over the same time period.

Hufbauer said pointed out that since Kerry said he's not going to raise retirement age, cut benefits or reduce premiums, "add that together with privatization and it's sort of what you've got now on Social Security is what you get in the future."

The only "wiggle room" Kerry would have is to raise the cap from about $88,000 on covered wages but not have a corresponding increase in benefits. "But to do that he would have to have a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, and that's a long shot."

As for Kerry's proposed reduction of the corporate tax rate, Hufbauer said it does address the fact that the United States is not as tax-competitive as it was 10-15 years ago compared to other countries, but "it isn't enough to make us competitive compared to Asia where the most of the new competition is coming from," Hufbauer said.

Dan Griswold, associate director of the Cato Institute's Center for Trade Policy Studies, called Bush's efforts to expand trade impressive, noting actions such as the upcoming signing of trade agreements with five Central American countries and the Dominican Republic, and supporting normal trade relations with China, now the United States' fourth-largest trade partner. But he said Bush also imposed 8 to 30 percent tariffs on foreign steel. The tariffs were lifted after 20 months, but "the economic and political damage had been done." He also signed the 2002 farm bill that locked in subsidies that were 80 percent higher than those under President Clinton.

"Besides being costly to taxpayers and consumers alike, the farm bill undercuts the U.S. government's position in global trade talks -- urging other countries to lower their trade barriers and make the tough choices when we are unable to make those same tough choices here."

Griswold also decried Bush for imposing tariffs on Canadian softwood and some Chinese products, and for continuing the travel and trade embargo on Cuba. "When it comes to Cuba the president seems to forget all the sound arguments he makes for trading with China -- but they don't seem to apply to Cuba when it comes to promoting human rights and democracy through trade expansion."

Ironically, Kerry's record on trade is a complete contradiction of his presidential campaign rhetoric, Griswold said. "Senator Kerry has employed rhetoric on the campaign trail that has been significantly less friendly toward trade than his actual record," Griswold said.

Kerry's record shows him supporting trade liberalization most of the time -- he voted for NAFTA in 1993, for the Uruguay Round agreements in 1994, for a version of fast-track trade legislation in 1997, for normal trade relations for China, and to lower trade barriers against imports from Africa and the Caribbean. He has also voted against sugar quotas and sugar subsidies, and against steel tariffs.

More recently though, he voted for the 2002 farm bill, and for more restrictive language on labor, environment and human rights standards in trade agreements. "About two-thirds of the time Sen. Kerry's votes in Congress have been in the direction of trade liberalization. If I were grading the actual records of Sen. Kerry and President Bush by free trade standards I would give them both a B, maybe a B-." with farm subsidies chief among the worst mistakes, he said. He added, "While paying lip service to the need to trade he's ratcheted up his calls for enforceable labor and environmental standards at the core of every trade agreement, never mind that he supported agreements in the past that didn't have that kind of restrictive language."

Griswold slammed Kerry for proposing that the United States reopen trade agreements, keep track of how many jobs are shipped overseas, require a 3-month notice before jobs go overseas, and restrict bidding for federal contracts. "All of these proposals would add to the cost of doing business in the United States, driving up costs for consumers and taxpayers and inviting retaliation from our export markets abroad."

"The road to the White House is littered with the wreckage of campaigns based on a protectionist message ... not since Herbert Hoover have Americans elected a president who ran on a explicitly anti-trade platform," Griswold said.


HELPFUL LINKS TO REVIEW OTHER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES …

The Third Parties on Right Could Be Problem for Bush -Reuters Jun 21, 2004 -- Constitution and Libertarian parties believe they could siphon away enough disenchanted conservatives to tip a close election.

When 'The Lesser Of Two Evils' Is No Option -Sons Of Liberty - Central Florida April 26, 2004 -- The political system of America is, by default, a two-party system. It was not designed this way - political parties are never mentioned in the Constitution or any of the early founding documents.

Politics1.com – Overview of all candidates with links to sites ranging from ultra-conservative Constitution Party to ultra liberal “Personal Choice Party” featuring Marilyn Chambers for VP.

Selectsmart.com - PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE SELECTOR – a pop quiz listing 17 key questions … at the end it will tell you which candidate best fits your goals.


DISCLAIMER: All of the information in this story is believed to be true, however errors are possible.
Past performance is no guarantee of future performance. All investments have risk.

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