Thursday, July 31, 2003

Let me clear my throat

I'd love nothing more than to see a rebound in the economy, but I think that the cheering I hear from Wall Street seems a little premature:

Stirring from months of stubborn listlessness, the economy pushed ahead in the second quarter at the fastest pace since last summer. That, coupled with another drop in new claims for unemployment benefits, raised hopes that America's economic health is on the mend.

The broadest barometer of the economy's shape, gross domestic product, expanded at an annual rate of 2.4 percent in the April to June quarter, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. The improvement came after two straight quarters of lousy economic growth. GDP increased at just a 1.4 percent pace in the final quarter of 2002 and the first three months of this year.


Another big factor behind the rise in second quarter GDP: a stunning 44.1 percent growth rate in government defense spending, the largest increase since the third quarter of 1951.

Considering that job growth still seems stalled (even though "only" 388,000 people lost their jobs last week), I don't think we're going to just bomb our way out of this economic morass.

The weird thing is, I thought that Bush and the Republicans were cutting defense spending. Oh, wait. That's right. They're just trying to cap the pay and cut the benefits of our service members; to block laws that would keep promises to our veterans; to kick vets out of the VA health system; and cutting education funding to soldiers' children after he sent them overseas. So where's all that money going?

Oh. It's going to Bush's daddy and other Republican war profiteers.


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