Jewish World Review April 16, 2004 / 26 Nissan, 5764
Miseryhttp://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | "You must feel so miserable!"
"No, I feel OK. Things could always be better, but I feel well."
"But you have to be miserable. John Kerry's new misery index proves it."
"This I got to hear."
"The old misery index - the sum of the jobless rate and the inflation rate - does not accurately reflect the pain and suffering of America's middle class. That's why John Kerry had to invent a new one."
"But the old misery index has been a standard measure for years. It soared to a record 21 when Carter was president. But under President Bush it's down to a low 7.7."
"Bunk! The American middle class under Bush is more miserable than ever! The Kerry misery index focuses on seven components to prove it: median family income, college tuition, health costs, gasoline prices, bankruptcies, private-sector job growth and the homeownership rate. Only the last one has improved under Bush!"
"Wait one second. FactCheck.Org, a watchdog group affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center, says the Kerry index is "selective" to make the Bush record look miserable."
"More bunk! Kerry invented a new middle class misery index to accurately measure the misery that has resulted from Bush's tax cuts for the rich - cuts that came at the expense of reduced health costs or aid to families with tuition expenses."
"But Bush's tax cuts have increased median after-tax income, something you fail to point out!"
"What good is more after-tax money if Bush's massive inflation eats it up anyhow?"
"But inflation is extremely low under Bush. You left the Labor Department's Consumer Price Index out of your calculations entirely, which is the standard measure of inflation. It rose only 1.7% in the prior year. Perhaps you chose to dwell only on gasoline, health care and college tuition BECAUSE all three are rising faster than inflation."
"But gasoline is going through the roof, thanks to Bush."
"But aren't the reasons for the increase in gasoline prices complex? China is gobbling up supplies, which drives up costs. The low value of the dollar is causing oil producers to boost prices. And let's not forget about the boatloads of regulations and taxes that drive up costs."
"But health care costs are out of control under Bush."
"Health care costs have been out of control under every president in recent times. Our health care system is a mess - a maze of complex regulations and perverse incentives that keep driving up costs. Malpractice costs are out of control thanks to lawsuits that are out of control. Bush could do plenty more to push for market-based incentives and reforms, but only a fool would expect Kerry's big-government plan to solve the problem."
"But college tuition is out of sight and that is Bush's fault."
"That's a good one. The Philadelphia Inquirer did an expose on this a few years back. They found that every time college loans and grants increased, tuition jumped. They also found that the higher the tuition, the more "value" parents thought they were getting. Colleges charge more because they keep getting away with it. What does this have to do with Bush?"
"But according to the Kerry index, Bush is responsible for the largest three-year fall on record and the worst record of any president ever!"
"OK, if you want to play that game then how do you like these apples: based on the Kerry middle class index, Americans were far less miserable under Carter than Reagan. According to the Wall Street Journal, Carter saw a six-point Kerry index improvement, whereas Reagan saw almost a six-point decrease. Does any sane person really believe the middle class was better off under Carter than Reagan?"
"Surely, sir, you are miserable about something!"
"Yes, gimmicks such as the Kerry misery index make me miserable - but not so miserable as I'll be if Kerry becomes our next president."
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