NewsDay | Chief Economic Correspondent
February 23, 2003
Washington - There was only one problem with President George W. Bush's claim Thursday that the nation's top economists forecast substantial economic growth if Congress passed the president's tax cut: The forecast with that conclusion doesn't exist.
Bush and White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer went out of their way Thursday to cite a new survey by "Blue-Chip economists" that the economy would grow 3.3 percent this year if the president's tax cut proposal becomes law.
That was news to the editor who assembles the economic forecast. "I don't know what he was citing," said Randell E. Moore, editor of the monthly Blue Chip Economic Forecast, a newsletter that surveys 53 of the nation's top economists each month.
"I was a little upset," said Moore, who said he complained to the White House. "It sounded like the Blue Chip Economic Forecast had endorsed the president's plan. That's simply not the case."
Deputy White House Press Secretary Claire Buchan insisted Friday that the survey, which mentioned "the likelihood that some version of the Bush administration's latest stimulus package will be enacted," justified the president's claim. Moore said that a survey taken in January before the president announced his plan forecast 3.3 percent annual growth between the last quarter of 2002 and the last quarter of 2003. A survey taken in February reached the same consensus.
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