During the 1960 presidential campaign, John F. Kennedy, the man after whom Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry has styled his campaign, spoke of a "missile gap" between the United States and the Soviet Union. Although the missile gap was a myth, it was an effective political tool that helped the earlier JFK to a narrow election victory.
In his nomination acceptance speech Thursday night (July 29), today's JFK claimed there is a huge economic gap. Really? Not according to Business Week magazine in an article that says the economy is creating more high-paying jobs than low-paying jobs: It reports in its July 26 issue that "40 percent of American workers belong to occupation/industry groups where the median pay is $559 a week or more. Yet employment growth in those higher-paying groups accounted for well over half of total job growth during the past year. Average monthly employment in the higher-paying groups was 744,000 higher in the 12 months ended in June, 2004, than in the previous 12-month period. By contrast, only 408,000 jobs were added in groups whose median pay was $553 a week or less, even though they account for 52 percent of total jobs."
Average growth in the gross domestic product amounted to 3.1 percent in 1996, but GDP has grown 5.6 percent this year. Mortgage rates are 2 points under the Clinton rates. Consumer confidence in June was 95.2, which is almost 3 points higher than in 1996. Unemployment today (5.6 percent) is roughly what it was during the height of the Clinton administration (5.5 percent in 1996). Yet Kerry says America is "in the worst job recovery since the Great Depression."
Kerry says he can be trusted to defend the nation and fight terrorism. Yet, as a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for eight years (1993-2000), Kerry missed 38 of 49 hearings. He also voted to cut the intelligence budget by $7.5 billion, cuts that were rejected by Republicans and Democrats. During that period, there is no record of Kerry ever sponsoring a single piece of legislation to increase funding for human intelligence. How serious should his pledge be taken when his behavior so far does not back it up?
Kerry promised to "build a stronger American military," but he voted at least 12 times against higher military pay and has repeatedly voted against bills that would modernize and strengthen our armed forces. No wonder Kerry doesn't talk much about his Senate record.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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