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How is better the wrong direction?

By Frank Salvato
web posted September 6, 2004

Now that the Kerry campaign is on the defensive and sliding in the polls we are hearing one of their core talking points more and more: America is heading in the wrong direction. Every time I hear this comment I end up scratching my head. Either it is a baseless accusation the Kerry campaign wants to instill in the voters' heads by repeating it ad nauseum or they have a very twisted view of the correct direction for our country.

Let's take a look at one component of our "national well-being," a component they contend is in jeopardy due to the direction we are headed, the supposed "terrible economy."

In 1996, when Bill Clinton was running for re-election, he extolled the magnificence of a 5.6 per cent unemployment rate. It was one of the cornerstones of his re-election campaign. The Democrats, including John Kerry, spouted-off repeatedly citing the sublimity of the unemployment rate, a rate they contended reflected the prosperity being enjoyed by the American people. Today as President Bush enjoys a 5.5 per cent unemployment rate the Kerry campaign has somehow decided that what was great for Clinton is disastrous for Bush. Somehow between 1996 and 2004 a 5.5 per cent unemployment rate has gone from a good thing, nay a great thing, to something that is a precursor to the end of our country, as we know it. To say that the Kerry campaign and the modern day, Zell Miller-less Democratic party are maintaining hypocrisy would be an understatement. They are practicing deceit.

In the face of what this country has been through i.e., September 11th and the corporate scandals that were allowed to gather during the Clinton years, to maintain a 5.5 per cent unemployment rate is an achievement in itself. Built on sound business practices instead of a paper-tiger dot.com bubble, this unemployment rate is on the way down, not teetering on speculation as it was in the 1990s. Yet the Kerry campaign says we are moving in the wrong direction.

The wrong direction
The wrong direction

Further, the Kerry campaign and the "doomsday" Democratic Party continue to say that the Bush Administration has presided over the worst job loss statistic since Herbert Hoover. While this sounds ominous – they are big on grandiose and short on substance – they fail to address that fact that NAFTA is the most significant reason for this statistic.

NAFTA, signed into law by President Clinton, has allowed more American companies to utilize cheaper foreign labor in the face of higher wage and benefit demands championed by organized labor unions, organization that make it harder for the businesses to "retool" structurally in an effort to modernize and compete. At its signing John Kerry supported NAFTA. Now he rails against outsourcing, a door opened by NAFTA. That in itself shows how little vision John Kerry has when making decisions. And the Kerry campaign tries to blame George W. Bush for this predictable development. Either Kerry is disingenuous, inept in his decision making process or both.

This "terrible economy" we currently find ourselves in today sees more people owning their own homes than at any other time in recorded American history. In 1996 the US Census Bureau reported that 65.4 per cent of people owned their own homes. During this time people were financing their purchases with a 7.8 per cent interest rate. While the rate of home ownership was good the percentage rate at which these purchases were financed ultimately took a large chunk out of a families income.

In 2003 the US Census Bureau reported that 68.3 per cent of people owned their own homes, an increase of 2.9 per cent, and this number has only risen since then, achieving a level of home ownership never seen before in American history. Combine that with the fact that mortgage rates are at a near fifty-year low courtesy of a 1.51 per cent interest rate and only an idiot would contend that the American homeowner was worse off today then he or she was four years ago. Yet, again, the Kerry camp says we are moving in the wrong direction.

When all is said and done our economy is strong, thriving and only getting better, courtesy of President Bush's steadfast leadership and the fact that he believes in the ingenuity and wherewithal of the American people. Recession has been thwarted, inflation is being averted and more jobs are being added every day courtesy of small business and the help it gets from the Bush tax cuts.

Now if that's moving America in the wrong direction I shudder to think what the Kerry campaign would consider the right direction. But then, when has John Kerry been on the correct side of an issue in the last 20 years?

Jen Shoemaker contributed to the research of in this piece.

Frank Salvato is a political media consultant and the managing editor for TheRant.us. His pieces are regularly featured in Townhall.com. He has appeared as a guest on The O'Reilly Factor and numerous radio shows. His pieces have been recognized by the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention and are periodically featured in The Washington Times as well as other national and international publications. He can be contacted at oped@therant.us Copyright © 2004 Frank Salvato

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