AFL-CIO President: ‘John McCain Is Wrong’ About His Claim That Economy Is Strong

sweeneyweb.jpgLast week, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said again, “I still believe the fundamentals of the economy are strong.” Though he has waffled on this point in the past — declaring in April we had made “great progress economically” during Bush’s presidency before reversing himself 24 hours later — he was clear last week in declaring the U.S. “still the most innovative, the most productive” country.

ThinkProgress spoke with AFL-CIO President John Sweeney today at the Democratic National Convention, and asked if he agreed with McCain’s assessment. Sweeney replied, “McCain is wrong”:

I think John McCain is wrong. He doesn’t even know how many homes he has. … We’ve seen the McCain position as just a continuation of the Bush Administration. It’s President Bush’s policies that got us into the mess that we have now. And it’s not only a short term crisis, it’s long term and it has to be addressed. Workers are having a tough time. The wage inequality that’s out there is unbelievable, and health care and retirement security are threatened. Those are some of the reasons that we’re not supporting John McCain.

Earlier today, the U.S. Census’ poverty figures revealed just how far the American economy has sunk under Bush-McCain policies: 37.3 million people were living in poverty in 2007, and 45.7 million, or 15.3 percent of the population, lack health insurance — 6 million more than when Bush took office 2001.

Speaking to the Rocky Mountain News, Sweeney “said the growing pay gap between CEOs and workers can be tied directly to the increasing difficulty in workers’ ability to form unions.” Unfortunately, McCain opposes the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it easier for workers to unionize. In a debate last fall, he said that while unions played “a very important role in the history of the country,” unions “have been serious excesses.”