Friday | October 04, 2002
401(k) jolt just ahead
Democrats are savoring the moment millions of voters across the country open up their 401(k) quarterly statements and find their retirement savings decimated by the Dubya economy.
In the coming weeks, investors will receive statements for the quarter, ended Monday, in which the S&P 500-stock index and the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 18 percent, the worst in 15 years. Democratic strategists are advising their candidates to emphasize the mailings, which could make abstract market losses concrete and personal, to inject economic issues back into a political discourse dominated by Iraq.But what's really funny about this whole story is the Bush Administration's response:
The Bush administration dismissed the Democratic gambit as "ludicrous" and issued an upbeat report yesterday on the economy, proclaiming that despite lost savings, "America is on the road to recovery." It urged Americans to "share the president's confidence and optimism."So, you've lost your job and can't find a new one, your 401(k) has gone to hell, corporate officials are being carted off to jail, companies are still restating earnings, the stock market is in the midst of a historic collapse, we have deficits as far as they eye can see, and we're about to start an unnecessary war that will cost the nation hundreds of billions of dollars we can't afford...
But -- get this-- Americans must "share the president's confidence and optimism." Phew! That was a brilliant rhetorical parry. Here's another one:
"To suggest that because my 401(k) has fallen I want to throw a Republican out is ludicrous," Bush communications director Dan Bartlett said. He said the argument is just another of Democratic "attacks that the American people have soundly discredited."Uh, the election hasn't happened yet, Dan. Nobody will know whether the argument has been discredited until then.
But other Republicans aren't as ignorantly optimistic as the administration:
Some Republican strategists say there is reason for concern. "People all know they are not as wealthy today as they were a year ago, but they don't know by how much," said GOP pollster Frank Luntz. "It's like a wet blanket to the face when they compute what they thought they had and realize what it means."The first Bush was undone by his boneheaded reluctance to admit the country was in recession. People would hurt economically, and he would point to the economy's "fundamentals" and argue everything was peachy. This administration claims it's avoiding Daddy Bush's mistakes, but from where I sit, the two Bush administrations are nearly indistinguishable. Posted October 04, 2002 08:48 AM | Comments (12)