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Taking the Real Measure of U.S. Economic Growth

November 05, 2003

Re "U.S. Economy Expands at Its Fastest Pace Since 1984," Oct. 31: I'm puzzled. How can an economy that grows at a 7.2% annualized rate in the third quarter also lose a net 41,000 nonfarm jobs in the same quarter? Is there an estimate for the rate at which the economy would have to grow to actually create jobs?

Craig Horton

Los Angeles

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I'm not saying that George W. Bush's economic policies are right, and I'm not saying they're wrong. History will judge that. But I do have a hunch that history will have no choice but to take into account the overall health of an economy with an ever-growing unemployed population and fervently deadlocked labor strikes revolving around a desperate health-care system existing concurrently with rosy economic growth indicators.

Melanie Rothschild

Topanga

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Credit for the upswing in the economy should not be given to Bush but to Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who has aggressively lowered rates over the last two years. Of course, it should also be remembered that Greenspan began raising rates in 1999 to facilitate a soft landing, which of course grew into a recession.

We can continue to give Bush credit for taking $200 billion of our money and wasting it in Iraq when it could have been used to update our power grid, repair our highway infrastructure, rebuild fire-torn areas in California, fix health care, fix Medicare, etc.

Douglas Hall

Los Angeles

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The Times claimed we have a "rotten economy" (editorial, Oct. 29). How rotten is this: record-high property values; near-record-low interest rates; a surging stock market; little, if any inflation; affordable gas prices; and the best quarterly economic growth since 1984?

Maybe you guys might want to rethink the word "rotten" the next time you discuss the economy. Or is admitting the Bush tax cuts worked just too difficult to contemplate?

Thomas Lovelace

Westminster

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