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"Take that Job and...!"
By Michi Chan

One of the hottest debates for the 2004 Presidential election is the topic of unemployment. According to SocialistWorker.org, "An estimated 2.8 million factory jobs have been lost since Bush took office in 2001. While the unemployment rate is officially 5.6 percent, that's only because long-term joblessness--the worst in 20 years--is so bad that people have either dropped out of the labor market or have never even entered it. Count those people, and the real jobless rate is 7.4 percent."1 Some people blame the Bush Administration for the lack of job creation and failed leadership. Corporate America blames the decline of the economy and justifies layoffs as a means to restructure their corporations. Some say the loss of jobs is the result of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that led to the loss of 500,000 to 879,000 jobs in the United States, according to U.S. Department of Labor and a study conducted by Robert Scott of the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). With many Americans' jobless, it is clear that the unemployment issue needs to be addressed.

The Bush Administration attempted to create jobs in May 2003 by approving a tax cut package in a plan called "Jobs and Growth Plan." The plan was suppose to create "5.5 million jobs by the end of 2004—306,000 new jobs each month, starting in July 2003. The CEA projected that the tax cut alone would create 78,000 jobs a month in addition to the 228,000 jobs a month the economy would generate without a tax cut." 2 However, the plan failed to reach their predicted expectations for job growth. Instead the Bush Administration's plan only created 1, 043,000 jobs out of 2.28 million jobs that were predicted over the last 10 months, as depicted in the graph below.

In the private sector, approximately 2.6 million jobs have been lost while President Bush served his term. "By March 2004, 8.4 million were officially jobless—but experts estimate the total number of unemployed and underemployed is more than 14 million."3 The graph below depicts the unemployment rate calculated by the Economic Policy Institute.

Recently many companies, especially technology firms, have been outsourcing jobs as a possible way to save revenue. With the decline of the economy and little signs of recovery, many companies have been forced to cut costs by outsourcing production and service jobs to other foreign countries where the labor is cheaper. For instance, the Maytag Plant in Galesburg, Illinois will shut down to move its factory to Reynosa, Mexico, where workers will be paid $2 per hour compared to $14.15 per hour in Illinois. "According to a study by McKinsey Consulting, of $20 billion in outsourcing revenue from the U.S. in 2002, Ireland accounted for $8.3 billion; India for $7.7 billion; and Canada, $3.7 billion."

With the loss of 2,931,000 jobs4 during President Bush's tenurethe unemployment rate has increased to one of the highest percentages since the Great Depression. If the unemployment trend continues and the economy does not recover soon, working class, or in this case, non-working class, Americans will greatly suffer the consequences.



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