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Thursday, June 24, 2004

Who writes this stuff?

This from the John Kerry website
The first thing John Kerry will do is fight his heart out to bring back the three million jobs that have been lost under George W. Bush. He will fight to restore the jobs lost under Bush in the first 500 days of his administration. Kerry has proposed creating jobs through a new manufacturing jobs credit, by investing in new energy industries, restoring technology, and stopping layoffs in education.

Where to start? This reads like a freshman term paper.
  1. Kerry will "fight his heart out"? I would want to know who his running mate is.
  2. Will Kerry fight to restore the jobs that were lost in the first 500 days of the Bush administration or will Kerry fight only during the first 500 days of a Kerry administration? If the former, what about the jobs lost on day 501 forward? If the latter, what if "victory" is only possible on day 505?
  3. How many jobs were lost "under Bush"? If Bush is considered the most powerful man in America, then I guess all jobs lost were "under Bush".
  4. John Kerry wants to stop layoffs in education? This is the first I have heard of layoffs in the education sector. From the BLS website, data describing mass layoff events indicate that in Education Services there were the following events and subsequent unemployment claims in the last quarter:

    Layoff Events Unemployment Claims
    May March April May May March April May
    2003 2004 2004p 2004p 2003 2004 2004p 2004p
    8 3 4 4 536 163 374 309

    I went through archived data from previous months since the recession in Spring 2001 and there were consistently more mass layoffs in the Waste Management sector of the economy than in Education.

I know that this is boilerplate, but is this really what John Kerry wants to present as a major plank in his platform?

To be bipartisan, I went to the website of George Bush. For the most part the writing is fairly good, although this was in the Agenda section on Education:
President Bush promised to make educating every child his top domestic priority and reform a system that has failed the most needy students in our nation's classrooms. He proposed a comprehensive, bipartisan plan to improve overall student performance and close the achievement gap between rich and poor students in America's more than 89,599 public schools. The President?s No Child Left Behind Act was passed with an overwhelming bipartisan majority and is already showing results for America?s children.
  1. Why is the number of public schools in the United States ambiguous? Is it 89,600? 89,601? This is more common than it should be. Schools advertise that they are in the top 72 schools in the country. Why not simply say, "we are number 72"?
  2. I question the "already showing results" statement because the site has no links to research supporting the claim, but I guess that might be too much to ask.


My last comment about these two websites. George Bush's site seems more modest, although it is quick to point out what the GOP think are the President's strong points. At JohnKerry.com, one reads "headlines" such as
  • John Kerry's Plan to Create 10 Million Jobs
    The Most Sweeping International Tax Reform in Over Four Decades in Order to Encourage Companies to Create Jobs in America and Stop Shifting Jobs Overseas for Tax Reasons
  • John Kerry: Protecting America's Jobs
    Outline Places to Address Outsourcing - Part of Comprehensive Plan for American Jobs
The first example is a bit scary. At a time when innovation and productivity have been improving faster than at any time in the past hundred years, I am not sure if I trust anyone to come up with "the most sweeping international tax reform" in forty years. Moreover, the last headline doesn't make sense to me.

In the end, a website shouldn't determine one's vote, but the Bush team seems to have better html programmers and writers than the Kerry team.*

*I fully admit that I am not the best writer and understand that those "who live in glass houses" should be careful with stones.

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