Throughout the Bush recession and the ensuing jobless recovery, the one consistent source of good economic news has been from the housing market. The value of the average home increased 6.48 percent in the 12-month period ending on March 31, and it is up a hefty 38.04 percent over the past five years. This continuing strength has given homeowners a cushion in the value of their assets during an era of declining stock portfolios. It has also provided construction jobs during a catastrophic period for employment in the manufacturing sector.
As the weapons-of-mass-destruction rationale for invading Iraq grows more threadbare and the notion that removing Saddam Hussein from power would lead to a quick blossoming of Middle East democracy looks more fanciful by the day, President Bush has taken to casting the ongoing conflict in Iraq as "the central front in the war on terror." This strategy is a new twist on an old ploy. For more than a year the Bush administration has tried to portray war against Iraq as a logical outgrowth of the events of September 11.