The Washington Post headlines that the jobless rate may climb as more unemployed re-enter the job-search market. Long-term unemployment (over 6 months) has reached record levels. But the WP, while citing Team Obama officials on the Sunday shows, ignored points made by critics that paint a fuller picture....
On ABC "This Week" Sunday George Will put the 162,000 jobs gained figure in perspective: (1) more than 100,000 jobs gained per month are required to meet incoming workers, before unemployed number falls; (2) 48,000 Census jobs--temporary--are counted in the 160,000; (3) after a sharp downturn a V-shaped sharp recovery is typical, but is not the case here.
Clinton-era Labor Secretary Robert Reich said that 2 million jobs per year is full-fledged, means 5 years to get back where we were before the financial meltdown. In the Weekly Standard economist Irwin Stelzer offers a detailed, balanced perspective on the good & not-so-good news in the numbers.
A CNN/Opinion Dynamics poll released last Thursday that the GOP led 48-45 in who could help economy. As recently as last August, Democrats led the GOP 52-39. Michael Barone offers one explanation: Even young voters grasp that Obamanomics offers fewer choices & more government bullying than Reaganomics did:
We've had such an economy before, in the second half of the 1930s, and Americans didn't much like it. And not just because they weren't making enough money. Because in such an economy it's much harder to find satisfying work, work that can give you a sense of what American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks, in his forthcoming book "The Battle," calls "earned success."
We get such satisfaction when we believe the work we are doing -- in workplaces and in community activities and voluntary associations -- is serving interests broader than our own. We're making use of our talents, as great or limited as they may be, to make a contribution to society.
It's hard to get that kind of satisfaction in this kind of economy. My relatives in Michigan, the nation's No. 1 unemployment state, tell me a phrase they often hear is, "At least I've got a job." Not a satisfying job, not one that it makes full use of their talents and interests, not one that provides a sense of earned success. Just a job, a source of income. The kind of job in which you keep looking at the clock, counting the time before you can leave, counting the hours until the weekend comes.
The economy we enjoyed between 1983, when the Ronald Reagan tax cuts kicked in, and 2007, when the housing market collapsed, provided many more jobs in which people could gain such satisfaction. You could make a living as a master carpenter, as an actor or as a sewer of quilts because steady economic growth and low inflation meant expanded markets for custom goods. You could do work you really wanted to do. You didn't have to settle for a data-entry or bolt-attaching job.
The economy we have now doesn't do that. The programs of the Obama administration and the Democratic congressional leadership will increase government's share of the economy and will tend to choke off private sector economic growth. We've already lost 8 million private-sector jobs but no public sector jobs. We'll probably create more public-sector jobs
Yes, many public-sector jobs provide a real service to society and a sense of earned success. But too many don't. Civil service rules, brittle organizational structures and public employee union contracts tend to stifle innovation and deter creativity.
Barone concludes: Obama offers change but not much hope.
Bottom Line. Voter anger over unemployment has hit Democrats hard. Given a tepid economic performance likely this year, voters will only likely migrate back to support Democrats on this issue if they believe that things will continue to get better. The numbers tell a complex tale, never a plus when trying to explain things to voters.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, Economy, Conservative Politics