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Simply amazing

Rick Munroe
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"Last week, the Census Bureau released statistics showing that for the first

time in years, poverty had increased for three straight years, while the

number of Americans without health care increased to a record level.[1] But

instead of changing its economic and health care policies, the Bush

administration today is announcing plans to change the way the statistics

are compiled. The move is just the latest in a series of actions by the

White House to doctor or eliminate longstanding and nonpartisan economic

data collection methods.


"In a Bush administration press release yesterday, the Census Bureau said

next week it "will announce a new economic indicator" as "an additional tool

to better understand" the economy. The change in statistics is being

directed by Bush political appointees and comes just 60 days from the

election. It will be the first modification of Census data in 40 years.[2]


"This is not the first time the White House has tried to doctor or manipulate

economic data that exposed President Bush's failed policies. In the face of

serious job losses last year, the Associated Press reported "the Bush

administration has dropped the government's monthly report on mass layoffs,

which also had been eliminated when President Bush's father was in

office."[3] Similarly, Business Week reported that the White House this year

"unilaterally changed the start date of the last recession to benefit Bush's

reelection bid." For almost 75 years, the start and end dates of recessions

have been set by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a private

nonpartisan research group. But the Bush administration decided to toss

aside the NBER, and simply declare that the recession started under

President Clinton."[4]





1. "Census: Poverty up in 2003," The Olympian, 9/01/04,


2. Census Bureau press release, 8/31/04.

3. "Monthly report on mass layoffs dropped," Shawnee News-Star, 1/05/03,


4. "Inventing The 'Clinton Recession'," Business Week Online, 2/23/04,



(from moveon.org's Daily MisLead)

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From the Los Angeles Times - August 27, 2004


Analysis by political columnist Ron Brownstein can be found here: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-assess27aug27,1,754548.story


With the release Thursday of the Census Bureau's annual economic report card, Bush achieved an unwelcome trifecta: For each year of his presidency, the number of Americans in poverty and the number without health insurance increased while the median household income declined at least a little.


Those trends are especially embarrassing given the indications from senior Republicans that Bush intended to devote at least part of the convention to buffing his credentials as a "compassionate conservative" — a theme he stressed in 2000 but has mostly let lapse.


and also from the Brownstein analysis:


In responding to the Census Bureau numbers, the Bush campaign and conservative analysts tried to accentuate the positive. In a statement, the campaign noted that the data were from last year and missed the upturn of 2004. Conservative analysts pointed out that the share of Americans without health insurance and the poverty rate were both higher at various points in the 1990s than last year.


But the risk for Bush is that the trends are moving against him on income and poverty as well as access to health insurance. And that could reinforce questions about whether he has devoted enough attention to the problems of lower-income families, after promising in 2000 to focus on them more than Republicans had previously.


A straightforward news article on the Census Bureau Report can be found here: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-income27aug27,1,3778383.story


Poor and Uninsured Americans Increase for Third Straight Year

By Peter G. Gosselin


. . . "For the third year in a row, the news was basically not good," said Ron Haskins, a former senior Republican congressional staff member now with the Brookings Institution in Washington. "It's reasonable to think income and poverty will improve some in 2004, but they didn't last year."


For those of you who like cold, hard, unassailable numbers and think that even the Los Angeles Times might be partisan, a link is available to the U.S. Census Bureau which will provide a PDF file of all 77 pages of the actual report.




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