The Commons is a weblog for concerned citizens of southeast Iowa and their friends around the world. It was created to encourage grassroots networking and to share information and ideas which have either been suppressed or drowned out in the mainstream media.

"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection." (Henry V, Act V, Scene 4)

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Bill Kumbier Letter 8/30/04

Dear Editors:

Allen Shirley’s recent letter lauding the state of the U. S. economy under the Bush administration (“Best-kept secret,” 8/27/04) is so buoyant that in reading it I wondered if we were living in the same country. Since Shirley makes a point of basing his assessment of the economy, which he says is “roaring along,” not on “wishful thinking” but on documented evidence from federal agencies, let me bring to readers’ attention some additional figures, released last week by the U. S. Census Bureau and underreported by the Joplin Globe:

Since President Bush came to power, 4.3 million Americans have fallen below the poverty line ($18,660 for a family of four in 2003), bringing the total number of poor Americans to 35.9 million, 12.5% of the country’s population.
Since President Bush came to power, median family income fell by $1,535, a decrease that for many families most likely ate up whatever savings they realized from Bush’s tax cuts.
Most tellingly, since President Bush took office, the number of Americans without health insurance, either because they can’t afford it or because their employers can no longer afford to provide it, grew by 5.2 million to 45 million, roughly 16% of the population.

Shirley states that 1.5 million jobs have been created since August 2002, but shrewdly does not specify what sort of jobs those are, or whether or not they provide a wage that can support a family, and he does not mention how many jobs have been lost since Bush took office (one estimate is 1.8 million in the private sector alone) or how many jobs have been “outsourced” overseas in the last three years.
Like Shirley, Republicans in New York this week will be congratulating themselves on an economic “Mission Accomplished.” It’s true that the Bush administration “accomplished” rewarding the wealthy with about $400 billion in tax cuts, not to mention maintaining tax breaks that keep what could be American jobs overseas. But given shameful figures like those above, it’s hard to see how the Republican “mission” has benefited most hardworking Americans.

Bill Kumbier, Joplin


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