If you take a gander at the sidebar, you will notice a brand new addition to my blog: polling. Every week I will add a new poll about something in the political arena. This week's question, "Should Congress pass the tax cut extension?", represents one of the most important issues in front of Congress as the new year gets into full gear.
Rising oil prices are threatening to kill the Dow's rally just shy of that elusive 11,000 mark. It eclipsed the mark for a few days two weeks ago but once oil blasted past the $60/barrel mark, it's been a downhill march. However, the slump could be turned back into a new rally with the tax cut extension. I need not explain (since I already have several times) how much the 2003 tax cuts helped a struggling economy get back on track, but inaction on the part of Congress is threatening to end the superb economic recovery of the past few years.
The GDP growth rate (Excel file) since May 2003 is nearly 4.1% and the Dow Jones has rallied from a low of 8,389.68 that same month to its recent high of 11,070.10, a jump of close to 32% in under three years. Furthermore, the unemployment rate has dropped 1.2% to hit sub-5% for the third time in 2005 and the first time since pre-9/11. Last, but not least, the economy has added 4.6 million new jobs since May 2003, increasing the labor force by nearly 3.6% (unemployment rate and job numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, former from "A" tables, latter from "B" tables -- nonfarm employment).
And with that I rest my case. Decide for yourself whether or not Congress should extend the tax cuts and vote on the poll.