Press Statement

Statement on President Bush’s Economic Speech

By Christian E. Weller, senior economist; and John S. Irons, director of Budget and Tax Policy, Center for American Progress

By Christian E. Weller, senior economist; and John S. Irons, director of Budget and Tax Policy, Center for American Progress

President Bush is woefully out of touch with economic realities. “He fails to acknowledge that the economic recovery of the past few years has left millions of American middle-class families behind,” said Center for American Progress Senior Economist Christian Weller. Since President Bush took office, job growth was about one-sixth of the long-term average; wages, after adjusting for inflation, have been flat; health and pension benefits have declined; and an additional 5.4 million people have slipped into poverty. To afford to pay for ever more costly housing, health care, and transportation, among other things, the typical middle-class family has taken on more debt than ever before. Weller added, “It is high time to focus our energy on the real economic problem of our time, a middle class that has not shared equitably in the economic growth of the past few years, and that is drowning in debt.”

The administration’s failure to acknowledge economic realities is also reflected in its take on the budget deficit. “It is only by this administration’s low standards that a deficit of close to $300 billion is thought to be a success,” said Center for American Progress Director for Budget and Tax Policy John Irons. This is the third year in a row that the administration has inflated forecasts early in the year, and then trotted out later in the year to claim “improvement.” The decline in the expected budget deficit for this year largely results from higher than expected corporate tax revenues. Irons added, “While it is welcome news that revenue has seen a small gain from the increase in corporate profits, it is unlikely that these gains are sustainable. Overall, Bush’s economic and budget policy have left the nation inadequately prepared to face the challenge of baby boomer retirement, to invest in the nation’s future, or to help middle-class families who are increasingly struggling in an economy that appears to reward only a select few.”

Just released!

Interactive: Mapping access to abortion by congressional district

Click here