Kerry Economic Plan Relies on Safe Numbers

Presumptive Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (search) unveiled his own version of the "misery index" on Monday, claiming Americans are miserable because President Bush has done such a bad job with the U.S. economy.

Based on a series of numbers that he says shows the United States is economically worse off than during the term of President Carter, the index eliminates the two statistics that have traditionally been used to measure "economic discomfort" — the inflation and unemployment rates.

Instead, Kerry combines private sector job growth, median family income, health costs, gas prices, college tuition, bankruptcies and homeownership rates to come up with his "Middle Class Misery Index." (search)

"In all the years that I have been involved in public life, I have never seen the economy of our country work as against the hopes and dreams of average people," Kerry said Monday.

Kerry says he has a plan to help the economy spike — it centers on the creation of 10 million new jobs in four years.

A closer look, however, reveals that Kerry's promises echo mainstream economists and the Bush administration. The White House predicts an average growth rate of 3.5 percent annually between now and 2009. Economists and Kerry too are on par with those calculations.

But Kerry's aides say the job growth Bush promised after each of his tax cuts hasn't kept pace with the economy, and the Massachusetts senator can change all that.

"We want to remind people that a typical, strong American recovery where we have confidence is capable of creating two and a-half million jobs each and every year," said Kerry adviser and former Clinton economic chief Gene Sperling.

Click here to watch a report by Fox News Channel's Major Garrett.