For Immediate Release
August 25, 2004
Kerry Talks Good-Paying Jobs in PA and WI; Receives Endorsement of 10 Noble Prize Winning Economists
Pledges to Create the Quality Jobs that Have Disappeared Under Bush
Philadelphia, PA – Continuing to lay out the fundamental choice facing Americans in this election, John Kerry Wednesday met with workers and families in Philadelphia, PA and Green Bay, WI where he outlined the Kerry-Edwards plan to strengthen the economy and create jobs for middle-class families. Kerry’s focus on the economy came as 10 Nobel Prize winning economists endorsed his campaign for president, saying Kerry has the plan to build a stronger economy in the wake of “George Bush’s reckless and extreme” policies that have endangered our economy.
In a Philadelphia town hall meeting, Kerry specifically focused on his plan to create quality, high-paying jobs, which have disappeared at an alarming rate under George W. Bush – including 81,000 in PA. While Bush’s economic policies have made it harder and harder for families to make ends meet, Kerry pledged today to create good-paying jobs by cutting taxes, reining in spiraling health care costs and fighting every day to strengthen and expand the middle class.
“I believe that when you put in a good day’s work, you deserve a good day’s pay,” Kerry said. “I believe in creating jobs that don’t just let you survive – but let you get ahead. Jobs that let you pay your bills, send your kids to college, buy a house, save a little for retirement and go out to dinner or a movie every once in a while. But today, we’re losing those good jobs and replacing them with ones that just don’t pay the bills.”
From supporting outsourcing of American jobs to turning surpluses into record deficits to putting the interests of HMOs and drug companies over the interests of patients and families, President Bush has turned away from the middle class and the American Dream. While the Republicans will try to hide it at next week’s convention through slogans, soundbites and negative attacks, the president’s record on jobs is the worst since Herbert Hoover.
For the last four years, the quality of jobs in America has gotten worse. We have lost 1.8 million private sector jobs. New jobs being created pay over $9,000 less than jobs that are being lost and are more likely to be temporary or part-time and less likely to offer health insurance. Family income has declined $1,462, at the same time middle-class families have seen their share of taxes and costs for energy and health care go up.
“These last four years, we’ve heard a lot of talk about family values, well, I think it’s time we started valuing families,” Kerry said. “And forcing parents to work nights and weekends instead of being with their kids is not my idea of valuing families. It used to be that families could get by with just one breadwinner, and just one job – but not any more. Now, we’ve got people working two jobs, three jobs, just to make ends meet – always juggling, always struggling to keep up.”
Kerry and Edwards have a plan to create millions of high-quality, good-paying jobs in America. They will end tax breaks for companies that shift jobs overseas and instead give tax breaks for companies that create jobs here in America. The will also enforce our trade agreements to make sure American companies and workers are competing on a level playing field in the world.
Kerry and Edwards will make America more competitive. They will cut health care costs for America’s families and employers, especially small businesses, and bring down energy costs and move America towards energy independence while creating jobs in the process. They will help prepare American workers for the high-paying jobs of the future by expanding access to higher education and fight for overtime pay for America’s employees.
“When John Edwards and I are in the White House, we’re going to bring quality, high-paying jobs back to America,” Kerry said. “Folks who work hard and do right by their families deserve the chance to get ahead. Those are the kind of jobs that built this country and those are the jobs that let you build your dreams.”
At a town hall meeting in Cleveland, OH, Edwards joined Kerry today in highlighting the Kerry-Edwards plan to create new and better jobs in America. Following his event in Philadelphia, Kerry traveled to Green Bay, WI. Meeting with a family and their neighbors on a Green Bay front porch, Kerry talked about his plan to strengthen the economy by cutting health care costs for families and business.
An Open Letter to the American Public
August 25, 2004
President Bush and his administration have embarked on a reckless and extreme course that endangers the long-term economic health of our nation. John Kerry understands that sound economic policy requires a substantial change in direction, and we support him for President.
The differences between President Bush and John Kerry with respect to leadership on the economy are wider than in any other Presidential election in our experience. President Bush believes that tax cuts benefiting the most-wealthy Americans are the answer to almost every economic problem. The Bush Administration’s tax cuts were poorly designed and therefore have given insufficient stimulus to job creation. The principal effect of the Bush Administration’s fiscal policies has been to turn budget surpluses into enormous budget deficits. President Bush’s fiscal irresponsibility threatens the long-term economic security and prosperity of our nation. At a time when our nation should be saving for the future, to pay the Medicare and Social Security benefits for the baby boomers, our national debt is swelling; the social contract that binds one generation to another is being threatened with unraveling. Increased borrowing from abroad–now almost five percent of our GDP–leaves our country, our economy and global stability increasingly vulnerable to changes in sentiments of foreign, or even domestic, investors. At the same time, his policies have exacerbated income inequality, failed to address the real wage declines and rising health care costs beleaguering American families, and ignored the need for critical investments to spur long-term growth.
John Kerry will chart a different course. We believe that he will restore fiscal responsibility. He is committed to making key investments in human capital, such as helping families meet the cost of higher education. He has a proposal that will address the problem of rising health care costs. We believe that he has both the ability and the commitment to work with our allies and trading partners to promote global growth that lifts up workers around the world.
John Kerry is our choice for America’s next President. We hope that you will join us.
Signed by the following recipients of the Nobel Prize in Economics:
George A. Akerlof, University of California at Berkeley, 2001
Kenneth J. Arrow, Stanford University, 1972
Daniel Kahneman, Princeton University, 2002
Lawrence R. Klein, University of Pennsylvania, 1980
Daniel L. McFadden, University of California at Berkeley, 2000
Douglass C. North, Washington University St. Louis, 1993
Paul A. Samuelson, MIT, 1970
William F. Sharpe, Stanford University, 1990
Robert M. Solow, MIT, 1987
Joseph E. Stiglitz, Columbia University, 2001
The views expressed in this letter represent those of the signers acting as individual citizens. They do not necessarily represent the views of the institutions with which they are affiliated.
THE DECLINING QUALITY OF JOBS UNDER GEORGE BUSH -- AND THE KERRY-EDWARDS PLAN TO CREATE GOOD-PAYING JOBS
Under George W. Bush, the quality of jobs in America has gotten worse and America has lost 1.8 million private sector jobs. Jobs in expanding industries pay less than jobs in contracting industries and new jobs are more likely to be temporary or part-time and are less likely to offer health insurance. At the same time, George Bush is shifting more of the tax burden onto middle class families, taking away overtime protections for 6 million workers, and doing nothing to address the spiraling costs of health care.
John Kerry and John Edwards have an economic plan to create good-paying jobs by cutting taxes for middle-class families, reining in the spiraling costs of health care, protecting overtime and raising the minimum wage.
JOB QUALITY UNDER GEORGE BUSH
Not Only Are Americans Losing Jobs
1.8 million private sector jobs lost; the worst President since Herbert Hoover in the Great Depression. Under President Bush the American economy has lost 1.8 million private-sector jobs, America’s first job-loss President since Herbert Hoover. By contrast, by this point in President Clinton’s first term the economy had created 10.2 million private sector jobs. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
7 million jobs short of President Bush’s prediction. Annual projections in the 2002 Economic Report of the President implied 6 million new jobs would be created between January 2001 and July 2004. Instead, we have lost 1.1 million jobs. As a result, we are 7 million jobs short of the prediction which President Bush made after 9/11, the tech bubble, and the recession. (BLS and Economic Report of the President, 2002. Note the Economic Report of the President projected an average of 138.3 million in 2004. That corresponds to roughly 138.4 million jobs in July; the actual jobs total in July was 131.3 million.)
The New Jobs Are Lower Quality
1.3 million more Americans are unable to find full-time jobs. Since January 2001, the number of Americans working “part time for economic reasons” has risen from 3.3 million to 4.5 million – a 1.3 million increase. That is a 40 percent increase. Many or most of these jobs lack health insurance and other benefits. (BLS)
Jobs are shifting to lower-paying industries paying $9,160 less. Nationwide, jobs are growing in industries with low-paying jobs and contracting in industries with higher-paying jobs. On average, jobs in growing industries pay $9,160 less than jobs in contracting industries – that is 21 percent less. (Economic Policy Institute, “Jobs Shift From Higher Paying to Lower Paying Industries,” January 21, 2004)
Jobs are shifting to industries that are 19 percent less likely to pay health insurance. Jobs in expanding industries are less likely to provide health insurance. 55 percent of workers in expanding industries have health insurance while 68 percent of workers in contracting industries have health insurance – that is 19 percent less. (Economic Policy Institute, “Jobs Shift Away from Industries that Provide Health Insurance to Their Workers,” May 12, 2004)
Real wages fell 1.0 percent in the last year and are now lower than they were when the economic recovery began. In the last year average hourly earnings have increased 1.9 percent. That is not enough to keep up with inflation, which has increased 3.0 percent. As a result, real earnings have fallen 1.0 percent in the last year. (BLS)
Wage growth has slowed, reaching the lowest levels on record… When George Bush took office, wages were growing at 3.8 percent a year. Wage growth has fallen steadily throughout his term, falling to 1.9 percent rate in the last year. Dollar wages grew only 1.5 percent in 2003, the lowest rate on record (data go back to 1964). (BLS)
While inflation has risen. While wages growth has been slowing, price growth has been picking up. Inflation has gone up at a 4.1 percent annual rate this year, higher than when Bush came into office. (BLS)
Real wages are now lower than they were in December 2001 when the recovery technically began. Wages are now lower than they were in the first month of the recovery, December 2001. Real average hourly earnings (in 1982 dollars) fell from $8.24 in December 2001 to $8.23 in July 2004. Real average weekly earnings (in 1982 dollars) fell from $279.28 in December 2001 to $277.30 in July 2004.
64 percent of the jobs created in the last year are in industries that pay below average wages. 64 percent of the jobs created in the last year were in industries that pay less than $15.40 an hour, the median wage of industries. (Analysis of BLS data)
Independent analysts have also found that the large majority of the jobs are in low-paying industries:
“It turns out that fully 81 percent of total job growth over the past year was concentrated in low-end occupations.” (Morgan Stanley, 7/9/04)
“Almost 90 percent of the net new jobs created in the 10 months have been in relatively low-wage industries – where income gains are growing three percentage points slower than the average wage growth.” (Merrill Lynch, 7/9/04)
“Since jobs growth resumed last summer, employment gains have been measurably stronger in low wage industries than in high wage industries…nearly two-thirds are in low wage and only one-third in high-wage industries.” (Economy.com, July 2004)
Family income has declined $1,462 under President Bush. Under President Bush the typical family has seen its inflation-adjusted income decline by $1,462 based on the most recent data showing the change from 2000 to 2002. Under President Clinton the typical family saw its inflation-adjusted income rise by $7,202. (Census)
THE KERRY-EDWARDS PLAN TO CREATE GOOD-PAYING JOBS
John Kerry and John Edwards have a plan to create good paying jobs:
The Kerry-Edwards plan will create jobs by ending tax breaks for companies that shift jobs overseas and creating tax breaks for companies that create jobs here in America. They will support a New Jobs Tax Credit to encourage job creation. And they will enforce our trade agreements and end China’s manipulation of its currency.
Restore confidence by cutting the budget deficit.
The Kerry-Edwards plan will restore fiscal discipline by paying for all proposals, reining in spending, and cutting the deficit in half in four years. This will increase confidence in the economy, boosting hiring and economic growth.
John Kerry and John Edwards have a plan to make health care more affordable for America’s families and for America's employers.
Their plan includes tax credits to help small businesses pay for health insurance, and a swap in which the government will assume most of the cost of catastrophic healthcare (care costing above $50,000) if companies agree to extend high-quality health care to their employees. The Kerry-Edwards plan will cut premiums by up to $1,000.
Cut energy costs and move America towards energy independence.
John Kerry and John Edwards support a comprehensive agenda to advance the use of renewable energy sources and new energy technologies, and promote more energy-efficient cars and buildings - a forward-thinking plan that will reduce pressure on businesses over the long run.
Create universal access to four years of college through the College Opportunity Tax Credit.
As president, John Kerry will propose a tax credit on up to $4,000 of tuition for four years of college, making college accessible for all Americans. This is a crucial step towards training the workforce of the future to secure and create the higher-paying jobs of tomorrow.
Raise the minimum wage.
Today, the minimum wage is currently worth only 33 percent of average American wages - its lowest level since 1949. John Kerry and John Edwards understand that today's eroded wage no longer meet the needs of American families. As president, John Kerry will increase the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.00 by 2007. That will give 7 million Americans a raise, and help millions of families pay for basic needs like education, food and health care. With this increase, parents working full-time will not have to raise their children in poverty.
Fight for overtime protections.
George Bush’s new overtime regulations will take overtime protections away from 6 million workers, threatening their pay. John Kerry and John Edwards will fight for overtime pay for America’s employees.
Just keep clearin' that brush and smilin' for th' cam'ra, George W.!