It’s the economy, stupid’

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 4, 2003

News last week that the nation’s economy grew at breakneck 7.2 percent rate – it’s best showing since 1984 – was certainly welcome news, particularly for the Bush administration.

A year from now, the president will face re-election and talk what you will about the terrorism threat, Iraq, Do Not Call lists, what have you, but when it comes down to electing a president, James Carville’s famous saying is at the heart of the matter – &uot;It’s the economy, stupid!&uot;

Always has been, always will be.

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Come spring, pollsters will be asking Americans whether they think they are better off now than they were a year ago and what they think the economy’s prospects are for the future.

If economic news like last week’s growth numbers continues, President Bush will be a shoe-in for re-election. If, however, last week turned out to be a blip on an otherwise downward spiral that began with the burst of the bubble in 2000, then the president, regardless of his success or failure on the international front, is likely to suffer the same fate as Bush 41.

By all indications, though, things should begin turning around. Interest rates remain at rock bottom, tax cuts have apparently induced consumers and businesses to spend and invest more. The one thing, it seems, that could derail the recovery is mounting, some say reckless, federal deficits that unless slowed soon, will eventually drive up interest rates and inflation. The deficits are now so huge there is no way we can grow our way out of them. It’s not likely 7 percent growth will be the rule.

The president must lead the charge in slowing the growth of the deficit. He needs to tackle it with the same gusto he has brought to the fight on terrorism. If not, he could be in for a tough re-election fight and the rest of will be in for tough times as well.