Saturday, October 30, 2004


The U.S. economy grew at 3.7% p.a. in the most recent quarter. Compared to the near-zero growth in Europe and most of the rest of the world, that is an outstanding performance that any government would be pleased about. The USA is already much richer than any other large country and is continuing to pull further ahead! Cause to congratulate both the businesspeople and technologists of America whose innovations made it happen and a President whose policies gave them an encouraging framework for it.

How the media spins the economy. It depends on who's President: "Summer was proclaimed a time of 'strong economic growth and low unemployment' by Jerry King of ABC's World News Tonight. King was right. Declining unemployment, low inflation and landmark homeownership all point to great news for the economy. There's just one problem: King wasn't talking about this summer. That story aired on Aug. 4, 1996. ... Business Week chief economist Michael J. Mandel made an excellent case that 'today's economic environment looks positively rosy' in the magazine's Sept. 6 issue. Mandel argued that there are strong similarities between the summer of 1996 and 2004. Both had incumbent presidents running for election. Both saw declining unemployment, an increase in jobs, and strong economic growth. Some of the numbers are so similar it's eerie. Yet the major media covered those two time periods as differently as night and day."

Sounds good to me: "With all the hoopla over the presidential election, gone almost unnoticed are measures that will be on ballots all over America next Tuesday to limit or roll back property taxes. It's the biggest tax revolt since the 1970s. No wonder. Property taxes across America have been soaring -- according to Deloitte and Touche, by an average of more than 10 percent between 2001 and 2003 alone. They're rising mainly because more and more responsibility has been heaped on towns and cities -- which rely on property taxes to pay for a lot of things that states and the federal government used to help pay for. Call it trickle-down taxes. The federal tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 left a big hole in the federal budget, meaning that the feds can't or won't fully fund programs like No Child Left Behind, which requires schools to take sometimes expensive steps to improve themselves. Federal support for states has also dropped, so there's less state aid to towns and cities. Well, someone's got to pay for schools and roads and parks and public safety. So by default, the tax burden has fallen to the bottom of the food chain. Local property taxes have borne a lot of the brunt."


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