Bush 2001Tax Cuts Have Failed

Bush 2001Tax Cuts Have Failed


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



 African-American unemployment remains about twice as high as that of white workers. In addition,

the earnings gap between white workers and workers of color has grown even wider since the 2001 tax cuts.



Bush 2001 Tax Cuts Have Failed

Job Quality & Security Have Declined

Only Very Richest Benefit from Tax Cuts


No Correlation Between Bush Tax Cuts andJob Creation, Report Shows

“By cutting taxes on income, we helped create jobs,” President Bush said in an address Friday to business executives at the Economic Club in Chicago.


BOSTON—As President Bush and his senior advisors traveled across the country this past weekend touting 2005 job growth numbers and demanding that Congress make the administration’s tax cuts permanent, a study examines the administration’s claim that tax cuts create jobs—and finds it without merit.While two million jobs were created in 2005, this is 3.5 million jobs short of expectations by the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, who estimate job growth at 3.1% in a normal year. Jobs grew by only 1.5% in 2005.

“The president’s tax-cutting policy is a failure in regard to job creation, and we need to recognize it as such, ” said Anisha Desai, program director at UFE and one of the report’s co-authors. “While there is no evidence that massive tax cuts create jobs, there is considerable evidence that they contribute to economy-choking deficits.” The report reviewed administration claims that “tax cuts create jobs” and found the following:

Tax cuts have no predictable effect on employment, either in job creation or job destruction.

Since 2003, job creation has fallen millions of jobs short of the administration’s promises. The current weakness in job creation during an economic recovery is unprecedented since World War II.The report highlighted other concerns about jobs and the economy as well. For example, the number of good quality jobs (defined as those paying at least $16 an hour, providing employer-paid health insurance, and providing a pension) has remained flat at 25% of all workers.

Significant racial disparities exist: black employment is at 89.6%, compared to 95.2% for whites. And Latino workers average more than $10,000 per year less in earnings than whites, and this gap is increasing.The report, entitled “Nothing to Be Thankful For: Tax Cuts and the Deteriorating U.S. Job Market” was co-authored by Anisha Desai, Scott Klinger, Gloribell Mota, and Liz Stanton. 

A new report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) define “good jobs” as those paying at least $16 an hour, providing employer-paid health insurance, and providing a pension.

Source: United for a Fair Economy is a national non-profit that spotlights the growing economic divide in the U.S.

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Nothing to be Thankful For

Tax Cuts and the Deteriorating U.S. Job Market

(excerpts from report)


Executive Summary

The Bush administration’s promise that tax cuts for the rich would trickle down to workers has been broken. And when tax cuts and more tax cuts haven’t succeeded in job creation or economic stimulus, how can we expect that still more tax cuts or permanent tax cuts somehow will? As another year of jobless recovery draws to a close, this report exposes the false claim that tax cuts have the power to create much-needed new jobs in our economy, and asks the question: “Have tax cuts given most of us anything to be thankful for?”

The Bush tax cuts did not produce new jobs. In 2003, the President’s Council on Economic Advisers promised 1.4 million new jobs by the end of 2004, over and above the 4.1 million jobs expected from normal economic growth. Although the actual jobs created failed to even match those expected in a normally functioning economy, let alone one supposedly supercharged by tax cuts, that hasn’t stopped conservative forecasters from returning to the “tax cuts create jobs” mantra in 2005 (a year in which only 2 million new jobs were created).

Changes in tax policy have no clear impact on job growth. Tax cuts have sometimes been followed by periods of increased unemployment; at other times, tax cuts have been followed by sharp declines in unemployment. By the same token, tax increases have not always been followed by the doomsday predicted by conservatives. One of the most robust periods of job growth and economic expansion followed the Clinton tax increases of 1993.

The quality of jobs declined appreciably since the 2001 tax cuts as measured by income, health insurance and retirement benefits has. Between 2000 and 2004, inflation-adjusted family income has declined, and the number of U.S. workers covered by employer-provided retirement benefits and health insurance has contracted. The less than normal number of jobs created have been less than what is needed to provide a reasonable standard of living.

African-American and Latino families have seen their economic security deteriorate at an even greater rate than white families. Despite the President’s statement that tax cuts would create jobs for all who want them, we have instead seen a widening of the racial economic divide. African-American unemployment remains about twice as high as that of white workers. In addition, the earnings gap between white workers and workers of color has grown even wider since the 2001 tax cuts.

Tax cuts for today’s taxpayers are a tax burden for tomorrow’s taxpayers. While politicians say that tax-cut plans won’t increase the de. cit, there’s little evidence that this is anything but an “urban legend” popular in Washington, D.C.

Even without any sort of special economic stimulus, it’s “normal” for the economy to create new jobs over and above the number of jobs that are lost in a year. Our labor force grows bigger every year and an equal number of new jobs must be created in the economy just to maintain the same percentage of people employed.

Race, Jobs, and Tax Cuts

Tax cuts haven’t been good for the average worker and have had a particularly bad effect on workers of color. Families in groups historically under-rewarded for their labor remain under-rewarded, and in some cases have fallen even further behind during the current round of tax cuts. The quantity and quality of jobs available to people of color has

lagged behind that of white workers, and tax cuts have done little to narrow the gulf between relatively high white employment and much lower employment for blacks and Latinos.

There is also considerable evidence that whites disproportionately hold the “good” jobs, as defined by the CEPR reveals an enormous gap between white earnings and the earnings of blacks and Latinos, with the gap for black earnings staying fairly steady in recent years and the larger gap for Latino earnings growing quickly.

There is also a racial disparity in who has health insurance. In 2004, 11.3 percent of whites had no health insurance, compared to 19.7 percent of blacks and 32.7 percent of Latinos. Similarly, in 2003, 51.1 percent of whites received employer-based pension benefits, compared to 40.9 percent of blacks and 25.8 percent of Latinos.


“Tax cuts create jobs” is a great sound bite that unfortunately does not hold true in the real world economy. Tax cuts disproportionately giving public dollars back to the rich foster economic disparity. And overly exuberant tax cutting often creates government deficits sizeable enough to create an undue burden on the next generations. Except for those on the very highest rungs of the economic ladder, if anything is trickling out of today’s tax cut policies, it’s increased economic insecurity.

Since 2001 when the tax cutting party began, declining family incomes, reduced access to health care and anxiety about retirement security have occurred on a widespread scale — not the shared prosperity, high employment and better life that were promised in the invitation to the feast. Only the richest receive these benefits, along with the increasingly low tax rates that are the hallmark of the plan. We see the broken promises of White House forecasts to deliver millions of added jobs. Worse still, we see a widening of the gap between rich taxpayers and everyone else, and an exacerbation of the wealth divide among the races, with unemployment among blacks and Latinos diverging from white unemployment by ever-widening margins.

The perceived public appetite for tax cuts is not born of a desire to deprive government of funding adequate to carry out its mission, as many administration officials would  maintain, but rather a desire by insecure citizens to have a more economically secure life. In poll after poll, when voters are surveyed about their desire for tax cuts as opposed to improving valued government services like education and health care, significant majorities choose the government services they most value.

The tax cutting policy is bankrupt — it has no effect on GDP, and its windfalls are just as likely to fund the purchase of jewels or artwork for private collections as to finance new factories that create new jobs. It’s time to recognize that jobs are both created and destroyed during times of tax decreases. The same is true during periods of tax increases. If what we value as a nation is opportunity and economic security for all, if we believe that everyone should have a job and that work should pay, if we believe our nation has enough so that every hungry child can be fed, then it is these measures that should be evaluated in light of calls to reduce tax cuts.

What have tax cuts given us to be thankful for? Nothing. The 2001 and 2003 tax cuts were a feast for the rich taken directly from the tables of the poor, the working class, the middle class, people of color, children and the elderly. Tax cuts were made in the name of jobs that have not materialized.

Instead, they reveal a government acting in service of the voracious appetite of a tiny minority, the very richest few, in the United States.

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Are You Better Off Than You Were

Before the 2001 Tax Cuts?

• Median household income in the United States in 2004: $44,389

• Change in median household income (all races) since 2000: Declined 3.6%

• Change in median household income for blacks since 2000: Declined 7.4%

• Change in median household income for Latinos since 2000: Declined 5.9%

• Percent of U.S. population living in poverty in 2004: 12.7%, up from 11.3% in 2000

• Additional number of individuals living in poverty since 2000: 5,416,000

• Additional number of children living in poverty since 2000: 1,440,000

• Additional number of elderly living in poverty since 2000: 134,000

• Increase in blacks living in poverty since 2000: Up 2.2 percentage points to 24.7%

• Increase in children living in poverty since 2000: Up 1.6 percentage points to 17.8%

• Increase in black children living in poverty since 2000: Up 2.4 percentage points to 33.6%


• Percent of U.S. population receiving employment-based health insurance in 2004: 59.8%

• Percent of people receiving employment-based health insurance in 2000: 63.6%

• Additional number of people living without health insurance since 2000: 6,016,000

• Percent of Latinos receiving employment-based health insurance in 2004: 41.1%

• Percent of Latinos receiving employment-based health insurance in 2000: 44.0%

• Percent of population receiving employer-based pension benefits in 2003: 45.9%

• Percent of population receiving employer-based pension benefits in 2000: 48.3%


• Average annual work hours by U.S. workers in 2002: 1,815 hours

• Average annual work hours in other industrialized (OECD) countries in 2002: 1,602 hours

• How much more do U.S. workers work in 2002: 213 hours, or 5 weeks of work

Sources: Income, poverty and health insurance data from Appendices A, B, and C in Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2004, US Census Bureau, August 2005; pension and working hours data from Table 7.18 in Mishel et al., Economic Policy Institute, The State of Working America, 2005. 

Source: United for a Fair Economy  / Pressroom Reports United for a Fair Economy is a national non-profit that spotlights the growing economic divide in the U.S

posted 19 January 2006

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Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.—WashingtonPost

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Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid

By  Frank B. Wilderson, III

Wilderson, a professor, writer and filmmaker from the Midwest, presents a gripping account of his role in the downfall of South African apartheid as one of only two black Americans in the African National Congress (ANC). After marrying a South African law student, Wilderson reluctantly returns with her to South Africa in the early 1990s, where he teaches Johannesburg and Soweto students, and soon joins the military wing of the ANC. Wilderson’s stinging portrait of Nelson Mandela as a petulant elder eager to accommodate his white countrymen will jolt readers who’ve accepted the reverential treatment usually accorded him. After the assassination of Mandela’s rival, South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani, Mandela’s regime deems Wilderson’s public questions a threat to national security; soon, having lost his stomach for the cause, he returns to America. Wilderson has a distinct, powerful voice and a strong story that shuffles between the indignities of Johannesburg life and his early years in Minneapolis, the precocious child of academics who barely tolerate his emerging political consciousness. Wilderson’s observations about love within and across the color line and cultural divides are as provocative as his politics; despite some distracting digressions, this is a riveting memoir of apartheid’s last days.—Publishers Weekly

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Related files: And Now the South Rules the North  The Propaganda of History (poem)   Bush 2001Tax Cuts Have Failed

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