Former Florida governor Jeb Bush has been an aggressive critic of President Obama's stewardship of the U.S. economy. Now he's got a new way to describe it.
"Barack Obama’s policies have given us a zombie economy where no matter what else happens, most Americans are falling behind," Bush writes for the online op-ed site Medium.
While the unemployment rate dropped to 5.3 percent in the jobs report released last week, Bush noted that data showed labor participation rates dropping to a 38-year low, that more than 6 million people are underemployed and that roughly 5.5 million more people are living in poverty than when Obama took office.
"More Americans believe that the economy is getting worse than those who think it’s getting better – and that’s been true for several months running," he added.
Out on the campaign trail, Bush has been pushing an aspirational goal of 4 percent annual economic growth – a plan that his campaign says would create at least 19 million jobs.
But Bush still hasn't laid out an economic growth plan, despite months of suggestions by him and his aides that he will do so. On Monday, aides wouldn't say when a more specific plan might be forthcoming.
He wrote that as president, he would "introduce pro-growth policies that support workers trying to find a job, businesses trying to grow, entrepreneurs trying to get an idea off the ground and free markets that are trying to meet demand. I know my ideas can work because I’ve done it."
Bush added that under his watch, Florida created 1.3 million new jobs and averaged 4.4 percent economic growth, while the unemployment rate fell to below 3 percent – far outpacing most states.
But a significant amount of Florida's economic growth during Bush's governorship came amid the massive run-up in housing prices, which peaked in his last year in office, 2006. Soon after, prices bottomed out, dropping the state into the recession that later rippled across the country.
Notably, Bush also published his thoughts on economic growth in Spanish. Compared to other campaigns in both parties, Bush has a much more robust Spanish-language presence -- but Democrats and some GOP opponents have noted that despite the governor's desire to campaign bilingually, he hasn't consistently posted policy positions and other statements in both languages.