"...and I Approve this Message" MONEY checks the candidates' claims on jobs, taxes and more
By Jon Birger

(MONEY Magazine) – KERRY

CLAIM: The jobs now being created offer less pay and fewer benefits than the jobs lost since Bush took office.

REALITY: True, but the nature of economic cycles is that jobs created early in a recovery are never as high paying, on average, as those created at the height of a boom. In fact, during Clinton's first term, the Economic Policy Institute (the source for Kerry's claim) argued that a disproportionate number of new jobs in 1993 and '94 were--yep--low-paying service-sector posts.

CLAIM: "While jobs are leaving our country in record numbers," a Kerry ad asserts, "Bush says sending jobs overseas 'makes sense' for America."

REALITY: Bush never said that. A report by his economic advisers did state that "when a good or service is produced at lower cost in another country, it makes sense to import it.... This allows the United States to devote its resources to more productive purposes." News flash: This is a widely held view among economists.


CLAIM: "Kerry supported higher taxes over 350 times," claims a Bush TV spot. "He even supported...a 50¢-a-gallon tax hike for gasoline."

REALITY: Yes, Senator Kerry supports rolling back the Bush tax cuts for those making more than $200,000 a year. Even so, the spin on Kerry's voting record is almost comical. The Annenberg Political Fact Check project notes that most of the 350 Kerry votes cited by the Bush campaign were not votes for tax increases but rather votes against tax cuts or votes for smaller tax cuts than those favored by Republicans. As for a gas tax, Bush's own top economist, Gregory Mankiw, advocated a 50¢-a-gallon tax as recently as 1999.

CLAIM: The economy "has grown at the fastest annual rate in almost 20 years."

REALITY: The time frame is less than a full year, but the claim is correct. Adjusted for inflation, GDP grew at an annualized 5.4% during the three quarters that ended March 31, the best growth since 1984.