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Wednesday, October 13, 2004

FactCheck: Bush supporters are wrong on recession, Medicare

The claims in a new pro-Bush ad are wrong, according to FactCheck.org (the website recommended by Dick Cheney during the vice-presidential debate).

FactCheck writes:

"The ad by the pro-Bush group Progress for America Voter Fund claims the economy was already in a recession when Bush took office, but the National Bureau of Economic Research (which dates business cycles) says the recession actually began in March 2001, after Bush took office in January....

To be sure, the rate of economic growth had slowed significantly at the time Bush took office, as the longest boom in US history drew to a close. Real Gross Domestic Product, a general indicator of economic performance, grew an an unimpressive annual rate of 2.1 percent in the final quarter of 2000, after actually contracting by half a percentage point in the previous quarter. But employment was still growing when Bush was sworn in, and the economy actually added 113,000 payroll jobs between January and March 2001, before starting to decline in April....

The ad also misleads when it says Bush's tax cuts 'helped . . . create nearly 2 million jobs.'  It is true that the economy has re-gained 1.9 million jobs since the very bottom of the job slump in August of 2003, as we reported  when Bush used this number during the second presidential debate.  But according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that still leaves the Bush administration with a loss of 585,000 jobs...

The facts also get stretched when the ad claims '41 million seniors now have access to lower cost prescriptions (emphasis added).' Bush's new prescription drug benefit will cover seniors on Medicare for an extra premium of about $35 a month, but not until 2006. Even the currently available drug discount cards have been used much less than expected. Current enrollment is less than 5 million.

Full analysis here.


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