"Bush Boom Continues" trilled the headline over the Lawrence Kudlow column, as George W. Bush closed out his seventh year in office.
"You can call it Goldilocks 2.0," purred Kudlow.
Yes, you could. But what a difference 12 months can make.
Final returns are now in on the eight years of George Bush. Charles McMillion of MBG Information Services has crunched the numbers. And, pace Kudlow, the only relevant comparison is to Herbert Hoover.
From January 2008, right after Kudlow's column ran, through January 2009, the U.S. economy lost 3.5 million jobs. The private sector loss of 3.65 million jobs was slightly offset by 148,000 jobs created by federal, state and local governments. Say what you will, the Bush years were boom times for Big Government.
And the private sector? Beginning and ending in recession, the Bush presidency added a net of 407,000 private sector jobs over eight years, less than 51,000 a year, the worst eight-year record since 1927-35, which includes the first six years of the Great Depression.
By January 2009, the average workweek had fallen to 33.3 hours, the lowest since record keeping began in 1964.
From Jan. 31, 2001, through Jan. 31, 2009, 4.4 million manufacturing jobs, 26 percent of all of the manufacturing jobs in the United States, disappeared.
Semiconductors and electronic component producers lost 42 percent of their jobs. Communications equipment producers lost 48 percent of their jobs. Textile and apparel producers lost, respectively, 63 percent and 61 percent of their jobs.
As a source of American jobs, manufacturing, for the first time in our history, fell below health care and education in 2001, below retail sales in 2002, below local government in 2006, below leisure and hospitality, i.e., restaurants and bars, in 2008.
Between this unprecedented loss in manufacturing capacity and jobs, and the $3.5 trillion in trade deficits in manufactured goods alone, run up by George W. Bush, the correlation is absolute.
Last week, final trade figures for 2008 came in. They make for riveting reading for Americans who yet believe that manufacturing is an indispensable element of national power.
With China exporting five times the dollar volume in goods to us as she imports from us, Beijing's trade surplus with the United States set yet another world record: $266 billion.