The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Wednesday, February 18, 2004  

Or Just a Dose of Reality?

It looks like former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill isn’t the only Bush administration official who doesn’t buy the White House line.

The New York Times today reports (“Bush Officials Offer Cautions on White House Jobs Forecast,” by Edmund L. Andrews):

Treasury Secretary John W. Snow distanced himself on Tuesday from the Bush administration’s official prediction that the nation would add 2.6 million jobs by the end of this year.

That prediction, which is far more optimistic than that of many private sector forecasters, was part of the annual economic report released last week by the White House Council of Economic Advisers and was immediately echoed by Mr. Bush himself.

But on a tour through Washington and Oregon to promote the president’s economic agenda, Mr. Snow and Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans both declined to endorse the White House prediction and cautioned that it was based on economic assumptions that have an inherent margin of error.

“I think we are going to create a lot of jobs; how many I don’t know,” Mr. Snow said, adding that “macroeconomic models are based on a lot of assumptions” and are “not without a range of error.” […]

To create 2.6 million jobs by the end of this year, the nation would have to add more than 230,000 positions each month from now until January. But many if not most economic forecasters expect a more modest upswing, largely because the nation’s productivity has been climbing so rapidly that companies have been meeting higher demand without adding workers.

Selling a product in which you have no confidence. That’s the Republican way.

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