The Economy - 'Robust' or in Recession?

More than two-thirds of Americans believe the U.S. economy is either in recession now or will be in the next year, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey published Thursday. The American people know what President Bush does not. That is why the president needs a White House budget director who will make him face the facts, not fan his fantasies.

More than two-thirds of Americans believe the U.S. economy is either in recession now or will be in the next year, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey published Thursday. The American people know what President Bush does not. That is why the president needs a White House budget director who will make him face the facts, not fan his fantasies.

Senator Bernie Sanders, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, on Thursday voted against the confirmation of former Rep. Jim Nussle to be the White House budget director. Sanders also placed a hold on the nomination.

President Bush is completely out of touch with the economic realities facing working families in America. He needs to hear the truth, not an echo," Sanders said.

"While the president tells us how wonderful and ‘robust' the economy is, the American people, through the reality of their lives, understand how wrong the president is," added Sanders, citing the Wall Street Journal poll.

Since the president took office, Sanders said, 5.4 million Americans have slipped out of the middle class and into poverty; nearly seven million Americans have lost their health insurance; median household income has gone down by nearly $1,300; three million manufacturing jobs have been lost; the real earnings of college graduates have gone down by about 5 percent; entry level wages for male and female high school graduates have fallen by 3.3 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively; and three million American workers have lost their pensions.

Moreover, Sanders pointed out, home foreclosures are now the highest on record; the personal savings rate is lower than at any time since before the Great Depression; wages and salaries are at the lowest share of gross domestic product since 1929; and the top 300,000 Americans now earn nearly as much income as the bottom 150 million Americans combined.

"The president's budget proposals to Congress have been disastrous for the middle class and working people while providing hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires," Sanders said. "I am sick and tired of the president telling us how great the economy is when every working American knows that is not true."

Nussle and Sanders were colleagues in the House of Representatives. "I know Jim Nussle. I like him. He is smart," said Sanders. "He just doesn't get the economic realities facing working people in our country. "Sadly, when Nussle was chairman of the House Budget Committee, his budget resolutions were even worse than what the president submitted. I cannot, in good conscience, vote for this nominee," Sanders concluded.

To read about The Wall Street Journal survey, click here.

To read the poll results, click here.