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Wednesday, November 26, 2003


Money, Money, Money. It's a Rich Man's World.

posted by Amanda at Wednesday, November 26, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Who can resist an ABBA reference? ;-)

But seriously, there is much speculation in blogland and in the mainstream media about the impact of the evolving economic realities/spin on the 2004 race. Questions are flying: With the recent announcement of a "surge" in GDP for the third quarter, are Bush's chances for reelection salvaged? Will his plummetting poll numbers recover? And from the Democrats' point of view, will a supposedly brightening economic picture in coming months potentially weaken the Dems' chances against Bush next year?

Obviously, no one really knows. But there's some excellent discussion and speculation out there for your reading pleasure.

The good folks over at Daily Kos think the Democrats' Economic Message is Unharmed by Upward GDP Revision.

If a single quarter of GDP growth were the be-all, end-all measurement of how the economy has performed during the Bush presidency, [Bush] might well be sitting in the catbird seat right now. But...GDP is only one measure of economic well-being, one quarter is just one quarter, and my neighbor's unemployment benefits expired four-and-one-third quarters ago.

And as Paul Krugman has pointed out repeatedly, (1) the fiscal crisis and structural unravelling of the US economy is real and cannot be overshadowed by rosy short-term economic forecasts and (2) temporary upswings in job creation cannot fully bridge the job deficit gap when what is needed is a huge upswing in job creation that will not only replace the millions of lost jobs but create enough new jobs to also keep pace with population growth.

Another interesting angle on this topic: the "recovery" is a patchwork. A recent article by Ken Moritsugu at Knight-Ridder shed some much needed light on the economic realities in key swing states. It looks like a Slow Recovery in 14 Battleground States Could Hurt Bush's Chances in 2004 and, conversely, help the Democrats.

Some 14 states remain in recession, even as the Commerce Department on Tuesday revised its calculation of U.S. economic growth this summer to an unusually strong 8.2 percent annual rate.

Some of those 14 states are electoral battlegrounds in the industrial Midwest that could decide the outcome of next year's presidential election. While a national economic recovery almost surely would help Bush, that may not be enough unless the recovery is strong enough to create jobs in those states, political analysts say.

"Overall, the jobs issue is a potent one here," said John Green, a political scientist at the University of Akron in Ohio, a state Bush won relatively easily in 2000. "If the election were held today, Bush would have to fight hard to hold Ohio."

Other losers among political battleground states included Pennsylvania, which shed 3,900 jobs last month, and Missouri, which dropped 3,300 jobs.

Many of the lost jobs are in factories; that could help Democrats energize their traditional union base and get more voters to the polls, Green said.

"It's hard to be appreciative of the stories about the great economic recovery in the country when there's absolutely no evidence of it in your own back yard," said Bill Ballenger, the editor of the newsletter "Inside Michigan Politics" in Lansing, the state capital.

Another factor in industrial states will be the types of jobs created, predicted Sung Won Sohn, the Minneapolis-based chief economist at Wells Fargo bank.

Many high-paying manufacturing jobs are gone forever. Workers who go from a $25-an-hour factory job to a $7-an-hour retail job may not be satisfied voters, Sohn said.

Understatement of the year there, Mr. Sohn. ;-)

What do you think? And, more importantly, how would you rate the Dean campaign's economic message -- and how could it improve its message to deal with the fluctuating economic news and realities? No doubt Economists for Dean have some wisdom on this point but everyone else, please weigh in, too.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.