Jobs are hard to find

Bob Fulkerson of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada.

Bob Fulkerson of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada.

The Bush Administration’s economic stimulus policies are hurting the nation and not improving the livelihood of Nevada workers as well as they should. Happy New Year!

That’s according to officials from the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada. Bob Fulkerson, PLAN state director, says although job creation in Nevada has been better than in most of the country, the economic recovery remains disappointing.

President Bush’s “jobs and growth” plan has failed to produce the jobs it promised for Nevada workers, says Fulkerson.

“It’s a myth that the president’s tax cuts would jump-start the economy,” he says. “It’s created nowhere near the number of jobs promised.”

While the president’s tax cut was supposed to stimulate jobs, the Economic Policy Institute, described as a “non-partisan think tank,” claims the president’s plan has fallen 10,000 jobs short in Nevada.

So who’s to blame?

Ask Fulkerson and he’ll tell you that, while some factors contributing to the nation’s poor economy are out of the hands of the president—such as the lingering effects of Sept. 11, 2001—still, the blame must fall on the man who made the promise to lead the nation out of its recession: George W. Bush.

“His tax cuts went to those in the upper income bracket, the very wealthy,” says Fulkerson. “[President Bush] must be held accountable.”

Doug French agrees with Fulkerson to some extent.

French belongs to the anti-tax group Nevadans for Sound Govern-ment. He agrees with Fulkerson that the Bush tax cuts haven’t done enough to stimulate the economy.

As French puts it: “I sure don’t feel stimulated.”

But French is an advocate of further tax cuts, which is where he and Fulkerson part company.

“We need more [tax cuts] to stimulate the economy and do away with taxes altogether,” French says.

Construction loans in Nevada are up, French says, indicating that however bad the nation’s economy might be performing, the Silver State is once again ahead of the curve.

He also points to low interest rates and relaxed mining regulations as further proof of Nevada’s resilient economy.

“The government can’t screw up the weather,” he says. “People are still going to move [to Nevada].

“We have job growth here unlike any other part of the country. We’re creating jobs here in spite of too much government.”

Backing up French’s optimistic outlook is Keith Schwer, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. According to Schwer, Nevada’s job growth numbers this past year are greater than they were in March 2001.

“Nationally, we haven’t recovered the job losses,” Schwer says. “But in Nevada, we have.”

And Nevada’s growth is not contained only to the service industry, says Schwer. Southern Nevada saw its largest growth in the production of goods last year.

Other areas of growth in Nevada’s economy, Schwer notes, are in construction.

“Typically, construction in the economic sector declines in a recession,” he says, “but that hasn’t been the case both nationally and locally.”

PLAN released its critical report on the Bush administration’s tax cut plan at the end of the second year of the “official” economic recovery. But as Fulkerson notes, in 47 states, job growth has trailed behind working-age population growth.

Thirty states actually have fewer jobs now than when the recovery began in November 2001, he says.