It's the economy, stupid

Obama, McCain react to August jump in unemployment rate.

Published September 5, 2008 3:55PM (EDT)

Bad news for American workers: The jobless rate jumped to 6.1 percent in August, its highest rate in five years, according to the New York Times. American employers cut 84,000 jobs last month. Bonus: The Labor Department said that more jobs were lost in June and July than previously thought.

What do the presidential candidates have to say about this sorry state of affairs?

In a statement, Barack Obama argued that President John McCain would continue Bush's economic policies, which, he contended, have cost the U.S. economy 605,000 jobs just this year. "John McCain may believe that the fundamentals of our economy are 'strong,' but the working men and women I meet every day are working harder for less, the typical working age family's income is down $2,000 since George Bush took office, and their purchasing power is as low as it's been in a decade," he said. Obama went on to pledge to cut taxes for 95 percent of working families if elected president.

Meanwhile, John McCain took the unfortunate economic news as an opportunity to suggest that an Obama administration would mean higher taxes. "Sadly there are those who believe that to grow this economy we must raise taxes, impose costly new mandates and isolate America from the global economy. When our economy is hurting, the last thing we should do is raise taxes as Barack Obama plans to do and has done," McCain said in a statement.

By Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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2008 Elections Barack Obama John Mccain R-ariz.