Needless to say, this forecast did not come to pass: we were already far below it at the moment of its release, and by June payroll employment was 1.2 million lower than the value of the forecast that the Bush administration had released only four months before, in February.
I can find nobody who can add--and have never found anybody who can add--who will defend this forecast in public, or even sketch out in public a scenario for how this forecast could have ever come to pass. It assumed, among other things, a total collapse in the rate of productivity growth in the first half of 2004--a collapse in productivity growth which would have had severe and adverse effects on stock prices, investment flows, and demand.
See Bradford DeLong's full post for the pretty graph nosediving.
Added: More pretty pictures, over at Political Animal, this time on comparisons of health care.