Friday, August 20, 2004

So They Wanna Talk "Issues," Huh?

The Kerry campaign piteously lamented why we can’t “get back to the issues” of this campaign. So, okay, let’s give ‘em what they want.

Kerry proposed eliminating 65 major U.S. weapons systems in 1984, including the ships, planes and missiles we currently have in our inventory that are the backbone of both our nuclear and conventional deterrent. If these proposals had been adopted, we would not now have a deterrent sufficient to defend America. It would be obsolete and ineffective.

[In 1991] Kerry proposed cuts that would have decimated our defenses, [but unlike then-SecDef Dick Cheney] with no plan proposed as an alternate means of deterrence and defense (probably because no such alternative existed except surrender).

Even after the end of the Cold War and the relatively dramatic reductions in U.S. forces achieved through arms control and a new defense plan, and even after Bill Clinton further reduced U.S. defense forces by an additional 40%, Mr. Kerry proposed even more cuts.

In 1993, he proposed additional massive defense cuts of some additional $54 billion in the short term, and hundreds of billions over the long term. Even this was too much for his Democratic colleagues, who responded by noting his proposals were dangerous, and if implemented, they would undermine our nation's security. Undeterred, Mr. Kerry went even further and proposed major reductions in our intelligence budgets, which would have further reduced our nation's ability to see future threats. These proposals were so off the wall they were defeated in the Senate by overwhelming votes, with some 80% of the Senate opposing his proposals as dangerous to our nation's security.

What about “kitchen table issues” that are supposedly the Democrats’ strong suit?

A signature campaign issue for John Kerry is the idea that the middle class is being “squeezed." A couple months ago he concocted a ‘Middle-Class Misery Index’ designed to show how bad things are today. In his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, he went so far as to melodramatically warn that George Bush is squeezing so hard that ‘our great middle class is shrinking.’ That’s a lie.

[Krugmanite] David Cay Johnston…wrote a story for the [for the New York] Times that was published on the very same day that Kerry made his claim about the shrinking middle class…designed to trash-talk the Bush economy. Johnston claims that…there has never been another two-year period of back-to-back income declines [as the 5.7% drop he alleges for 2001-2002 compared to 2000].

But there’s something remarkable revealed in one of the tables that accompany Johnston’s story — which he cleverly avoids in the text…the table shows that the entire income-decline in 2001 and 2002 is due exclusively to losses by taxpayers making over $100,000 a year, with the vast majority of the decline coming from taxpayers making over $1 million. Taxpayers earning less than $100,000 — the overwhelming majority of American households — actually saw their incomes rise during the two-year period.” [my emphasis]

Another table accompanying the story shows that the middle class is not only doing fine, but expanding — in direct contradiction to Kerry’s convention claim that it’s shrinking.
As to Bush being “unable to run on his record”:

During the past year, the [Bush] economy grew 4.8% [despite] President Bush inherit[ing] an economy that was falling into recession with a stock-market bubble that had already burst.

[T]he unemployment rate hover[s] around 5.5%. In the manufacturing area, 2004 actually looks better, with job gains of 81,000…

Inflation-adjusted take-home pay, known as disposable personal income…has risen $1,521 so far during Bush's first term, despite the more challenging economic environment. Of course, a large part of this is because of the Bush tax cuts that lowered the burden on a typical four-person family by more than $1,600, or $400 per person. But wages have also performed quite well in the past four years.

Since Bush took office, hourly pay for production workers has risen 34 cents after inflation…One reason for the wage increase is an upgrading in the quality of jobs. Using the most detailed data available from the U.S. Labor Department, the vast majority of the jobs created this year pay above-average wages. Today, there are 2.5 million more jobs filled by college graduates than when Bush came to office and an additional 850,000 jobs filled by people with some college background.

Is this really where the Kerryites want public attention to go? Isn’t that why he tried to hide all of this behind his over-hyped Vietnam exploits in the first place? And are you Democrats now beginning to realize in just how much trouble your candidate truly is?