News & Politics

Bush Plays Games with Layoffs

George W. solves the layoff hysteria -- not by creating jobs, but by discontinuing the Layoff Statistics Program.
I recently talked with a hospital worker who said she was living on a "fixed income" these days -- and she's looking for whoever fixed it!

Well, one who's not doing the job of fixing our ailing economy is our beloved George W.  His idea of helping America's hard-hit working families is to give yet another trillion-dollar tax giveaway to the richest people in the country.  They'll use it to create jobs, he says with that self-satisfied smirk of his.

But that's what he said about his first trillion dollar giveaway to the same rich people two years ago.  Since then, the U.S. has lost more than two million jobs. 

In just the past few months, there have been mass layoffs by such giants as AOL Time Warner, Boeing, Dow Jones, Goodyear, Kodak, McDonald's, Merrill Lynch, J.C. Penney, Sara Lee and Verizon -- and more to come.

These are bad numbers -- politically as well as economically.  Such mass layoffs are especially embarrassing, because... well they get noticed by the public.  When so many workers are given pink slips at once, it gets in the news -- and the labor department, which tracks this data, reports that there were more than 2,000 mass layoffs last year.  Ouch.

What to do, what to do?  I know, shouted some eager Bushite:  Let's just stop reporting these numbers!  Ahhh, the cleverness, the simplicity, the manipulativeness.  Clean.

So that's what the Bushites did.  Last Christmas Eve, while the media was off having egg nog and dreaming of sugar plum fairies, Bush's labor department quietly slipped out a four-sentence press release announcing that its Mass Layoff Statistics Program was "discontinued."  The statistical grinches claimed they had to do this because there just wasn't any money for tracking and reporting such information.

The only little glitch in this out-of-sight, out-of-mind scheme is that layoffs aren't statistics -- they're people, families, communities.  We still see you George... the problem is too big and too ugly to hide.

Jim Hightower is a natonal radio commentator, writer, public speaker and author.
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