Some conservatives are alleging that the president suffers from an inability to communicate with the American people, and there may be some overrated truth to this. But in a news conference last Friday, we saw George W. Bush at his communicating best.
Following a meeting with his economic advisors at Camp David, the president let 'er rip, stating that: "The foundation of our economy is solid, and it's strong. Because of the tax cuts we passed, American workers and families and small businesses are keeping more of the money they earn. And they're using that money to drive this economy of ours forward."
Could he be any clearer?
The mainstream media won't report the economic good news. And many on Wall Street don't even want a strong economy, for fear of more rate hikes from the Federal Reserve. The day after the president's Camp David message, The New York Times editorial cried, "Hold the champagne," and proceeded to obsess about a slowdown in housing.
There's no counting how many recessions Times columnist Paul Krugman has predicted, but Bush was exactly right to point out the 4 percent real GDP growth during the first half of 2006, brisk productivity rates, 5.5 million new jobs over the past three years and a historically low 4.8 percent unemployment rate.
Bush's critics say he's whistling past the graveyard. But the president rightly insists, "The entrepreneurial spirit in the country is strong, and that's good for America."
Bush inherited the Internet bubble meltdown from the Clinton years, as well as the corporate scandals. Then came the attacks of 9-11 and the ensuing war. But the Bush recovery also followed suit, the result of slashing high marginal tax rates on investment in mid-2003.
And the recovery continues. Recent strong numbers for retail sales and industrial production suggest a 3.5 percent economic growth rate in the second half of 2006, a far cry from soft-landings, hard-landings or the recession scenarios that are beginning to proliferate.
And when the president says economic growth has had a positive impact on the budget, he's right again. Tax receipts are growing around 14 percent for the second straight year, the biggest gain in a quarter of a century. Income-tax collections, bolstered by the success of owner-operated business entrepreneurs and other self-employed, are helping lift these revenues. These folks, who prefer unincorporated Subchapter S or limited-liability company partnerships, are the ones who show up in the household survey of employment -- which is at a record high.
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