Labor Day editorial misleading

The economy has expanded 9 percent during Bush’s term.

The Labor Day editorial in Wednesday’s paper, “Day after Labor Day, labor less for too many,” was about as fair as a Michael Moore movie.

It has been commonly reported in the media that as many as 6 million workers might lose overtime. The Daily takes this claim and changes it to “more than 6 million individuals will lose overtime.” It is disappointing that the Daily would take the number being used by strongly biased labor unions and push it upon us like a fact. Even more disappointing is that the editorial completely ignored the Labor Department’s own analysis, which predicted that no more than 107,000 workers would lose overtime, and approximately 1.3 million would gain it.

It does not take much thought to realize that the 6 million person claim is ridiculous. The new rules allow companies to not pay overtime to employees making more than $100,000 a year. However, first responders, blue-collar workers and people already under union contract are exempt, and professionals never had overtime before.

The big news is who gains overtime. The Daily neglected to mention that the threshold for guaranteed overtime was increased from $8,060 to $23,500. This is an enormous benefit for low-income workers and it should add overtime eligibility to more than 1 million of them.

Apparently, when Democrats tax the rich and give to the poor, it is compassionate, but when President George W. Bush makes a policy change that affects a few workers making over $100,000 but helps many low-income workers, he is anti-labor.

Another important fact is that the current unemployment rate of 5.4 percent is better than the average unemployment of the ’80s and the ’90s.

It is aggravating how the media continues to insinuate that the economy is terrible and it is all Bush’s fault. During former President Bill Clinton’s final six months in office, the economy contracted for the first time since 1991 and the tech-heavy NASDAQ took a 33 percent nosedive.

The contraction and expansion in alternating quarters continued until the fourth quarter of 2001. It just so happens that the economy finally turned around once Bush pushed a major tax cut through Congress. Despite the economy that was handed to Bush, it has expanded by 9 percent during his presidency, and nearly 5 percent in the last year. Last time I checked, a 5 percent expansion rate and a 5.4 percent unemployment rate was considered a good economy.

Ben Ellingson is a University graduate student. Please send comments to [email protected]