Friday, October 06, 2006

Who has a claim on the economics numbers?

The traditional model on election years is that good economic numbers benefit the party in power. We have certainly had some good economic news. Gas prices are significantly down from their previous highs. Unemployment dipped to 4.6%. Job creation, when you adjust the numbers for July and August, as the BLS just did, are pretty good. What's more the growth has been significantly higher than projected last year.

But there are a lot of things weighing on the majority party. Scandals - both real and created. The unpopularity of the Administration's policy in Iraq. The appearance of congress not only being do nothing but actually being a do nothing good congress - a lot of what passed for activity this year was complete BS.

In this year, there seems to be more negative news, again some of it created, which will bring down the majority in both houses.

Did the Administration's policies have an effect on improving the stock market? Indeed, the tax act which Chair Apparent Rangel wants to rescind, and the reduction in capital gains, had a significant effect on the financial markets. Our (mostly) acceptance of free trade and being a real part of the globalized market has offered us significant benefits. Yet there is the increasing perception that the GOP majority has fallen into "sin" not just the Foley pecadillos but a rash of other odd and curious acts which suggest that the party of small government may be "none of the above." Unfortunately, we do not have that choice in November.

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