September 08, 2005,
By Jerry Bowyer
Letís call it Bowyerís Law: The emphasis that the mainstream media give to unemployment while a Republican is in the White House is directly proportional to the rate of unemployment. In other words, if the unemployment rate is very low, then coverage of the unemployment rate will be very low too that is, when someone like George W. Bush is in power. At a current rate of 4.9 percent, Bowyerís Law seems to be holding.
Itís time for the Bush administration to turn this thing around. We are currently within a hairís breadth of achieving 5 million new jobs since the presidentís tax cuts were fully implemented in May 2003. If we hit it this month, that would mean 5 million jobs in 28 months. When the new jobs numbers are reported four weeks from now, maybe it will be time for the administration to crow a little bit.
Perhaps the reason President Bush has had so much trouble selling his admirable Social Security reform plan is that so many people think his economic performance is weak. But perhaps so many people think this way because the press systemically tells them so, and because the president does not systematically rebut the press.
Here are some suggestions to help turn the tide:
First, 5 million jobs in slightly more than two years is a big deal. Say so, Mr. President.
Second, Mr. President, you should defend the Labor Departmentís household survey, which goes almost unreported in the media and includes the all-important self-employed. The president has laid out a vision of a ďnew ownership societyĒ and itís working job growth has been much stronger in the start-up and self-employed segment of the economy. The Labor Departmentís establishment (or payroll) survey counts the first group badly and doesnít track the second group at all. In an ownership society the household survey will be a better gauge of employment than the establishment survey. Itís time for the president to reconcile his economic strategy with his communication strategy by focusing on small business ownership and the survey that tracks it.
Is a boom a boom even if nobody hears it? Letís leave that question to the theoreticians. Meanwhile, itís time for the White House to make some noise.