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Joint Economic Committee Democrats Chairman - Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA)

Joint Economic Committee Annual Report

The President says his policies are working to make the economy strong and that all Americans are benefiting, but the facts show an economic record that has left the vast majority of American families behind. During the last six years, the economy has performed in a lackluster fashion, without strong growth in output, investment, or employment. America’s working families have seen little or no improvement in their standard of living during this time. The recovery from the recession in 2001 has been very weak, and household income is still substantially below its pre-recession peak of the 1990s. Further, the number of households with employer-provided health insurance has declined. In short, the economic indicators that matter most to the typical family are moving in the wrong direction.

By almost every measure, the Bush Administration’s economic policies have produced a recovery that has been remarkably weak. The President’s ill-designed tax policy has added to the deficit and exacerbated income inequality. At the same time, programs that benefit middle- and lower-income families have been cut back. Dramatic increases in defense spending for the war in Iraq have increased the budget deficit, which will have an impact on future generations. Instead of focusing spending increases on areas that would help economic growth in the long term, such as repairing and modernizing America’s transportation and urban infrastructure, the administration financed a war that has already produced total economic costs exceeding a trillion dollars.

The subprime mortgage crisis, which may lead to millions of Americans losing their homes, and the subsequent credit crunch have weakened an already soft housing market. The deteriorating housing market threatens to have pronounced negative impacts on growth. The vast majority of American families have not benefited from the economic gains we have seen so far and now there are strong indications that a downturn may be just around the corner.

So far, the Administration has been slow to change course and are satisfied with the status quo. The country needs a change in direction to get our economy back on the right track and to ensure that all American families share in our nation’s growing prosperity.

For the full text of this report, please click on the file listed under "Related Resources."