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Opinion

Opinion

Spin won’t alter jobless numbers

July 12, 2012

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President Obama’s attempt to spin the latest discouraging unemployment numbers as “a step in the right direction” is like telling passengers aboard the Titanic to ignore the sinking vessel and listen to the live music.

A Wall Street Journal analysis of the June unemployment figures offers little comfort, nor does it produce confidence that the economy will improve before the election.

“The U.S. unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.2 percent in June,” the Journal reports, “but a broader measure rose to 14.9 percent as the ranks of the underemployed grew. ... The reason the rate didn’t decline was that while the number of employed increased, so did the labor force by a larger 189,000 people.” The broader unemployment rate includes temporary and part-time workers who would prefer a full-time job, as well as people who want to work but have given up looking for jobs. The president’s policies, which appear to have stifled economic growth, continue to contribute to the dismal jobs outcome.

Figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics should cause headaches for the Obama re-election team and an opportunity for Mitt Romney to offer a better path. Hispanic and Latino unemployment remained essentially unchanged at 11.0 percent. African-American unemployment rose by 184,000 to 14.4 percent, making one wonder why so many black voters continue to support a president who is doing them little good. The number of unemployed women has increased by 780,000 since President Obama took office. The unemployment rate among white men and women remained at 7.4 percent, but whites don’t seem to figure much into Obama’s re-election strategy.

June marked the 41st consecutive month in which the unemployment rate has been above 8 percent, the longest streak at such a high level since the Great Depression. President Obama promised that if Congress passed his stimulus plan, unemployment would be around 5.6 percent by now. In 1992, when Bill Clinton became president, the unemployment rate was 7.5 percent. In October 2008, under George Bush, the unemployment rate was 6.5 percent.

Here’s more from an analysis by James Pethokoukis of The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank: “The average duration of unemployment ticked up to 39.9 weeks. ... Job growth during the three-year Obama recovery has averaged just 75,000 a month for a total of 2.7 million.” He contrasts this with the first three years of the Reagan recovery when “job growth averaged 273,000 a month for a total of 9.8 million.”

Pethokoukis adds, “If you adjust for the larger U.S. population today, the Reagan recovery averaged 360,000 jobs a month for a three-year total of 13 million jobs.”

If Obamacare is not repealed and replaced by a Republican Congress and a President Romney, its sharp tax and spending increases will lead, among other things, to employers hiring even fewer people and laying off the workers they have. There is no healthy economic future if we continue along this line.

But more than a change of administrations is needed. We also must change the way many of us think about the proper role of government, which functions best when it’s limited. When people are not limited by government, they do better for themselves and the nation. Why then do so many turn to government when it consistently fails to perform better than the private sector in most categories?

Mitt Romney should be hammering on this theme and not let the Obama campaign pound him as an out of touch, jet-skiing, rich guy. This election is, or ought to be, about whether the country can stand another four years of incompetent, overspending, overtaxing government, or whether it should return to the safe harbor of living within our means and doing more for ourselves.

Spinning numbers won’t cure an ailing economy anymore than wishful thinking will improve the condition of a dying man. This administration has put America on a path to socialism. It’s for Romney to make the case that the administration’s “medicine” is actually killing us.

— Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services.

Comments

cato_the_elder 2 years, 5 months ago

Excellent column. If concerned voters seriously look at the hard numbers and carefully examine what Obama and his enablers have already done to America in 3 1/2 years, they will vote for Mitt Romney, elect him, and have a president who believes in America's greatness and will unleash its inherent economic might. As a result, jobs will again be created and the role of government will begin to become more limited, as the Founders of this Nation intended.

bad_dog 2 years, 5 months ago

The only thing missing here is some rousing orchestral background music. Oh, and a firm grasp on reality...

cato_the_elder 2 years, 5 months ago

As though Obama understands anything other than taxing and spending.

Getaroom 2 years, 5 months ago

Under the wanna-be rule of Wilfred Romney, the country will march to the beat of that old familiar Fascism. Welcome back to the Company Store sheeples.

If indeed there were jobs to get and the 'collective we' got them, the economy might have a chance of crawling back on it's knees. There is no evidence that the wealthy are the job creators, no matter how often Wilfred repeats the lie and he often does, it's not true. The wealthy are only the wealth creators, and want to hold on to it by making more money out of money, not by creating working class jobs because that would mean spending down their cash. Better yet, borrow it from corrupt Wall Street where the "fix" has been in for 15-20 years. What a sweet deal! Where would you hide your wealth if nowIf that were not a Swiss bank accounts - blind trust or not. That is just so American and patriotic!! How do you think the wealthy got money anyway, - be pulling themselves up by the boot straps? Well, some of them inherited it but who's counting. Cal loves a good twist on the job theme, being a good Neocon that he is, but he has it all backwards, as does oneeye. Anyone who is contributing to this blog, who is not residing comfortably within the upper 1% and holds an ideology just for the sake it, better take stalk of how it's going to play out for them and it's not going to be pretty. But then, those folks screaming about losing their guns, already have them, and are welcome shoot at their own feet for target practice.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 5 months ago

Wanna make sure that the unemployment rate stays above 8%? Elect Romney so he can perpetuate the very policies that crashed the economy (for all but the 1%) in the first place.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 5 months ago

Side note-- the real unemployment, underemployment rate is closer to 18%-- something Romney would also perpetuate, if not exacerbate.

Topple 2 years, 5 months ago

I'm assuming you mean November 2008.

Anyway, we'll see what changes if Romney is elected. One thing IS certain though...Obama didn't come anywhere close to his flowery election lines promising change.

But Liberals will be Liberals, and will ignore his record because he supports gay marriage, redistribution of wealth and makes you feel warm inside while reading speeches someone wrote for him.

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 5 months ago

Let's have a look at his record, shall we? http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/

http://www.southbendtribune.com/sns-graphics-job-loss-blame-gx,0,7361153.graphic

Looks like he's kept more promises than he broke, and he pulled the country out of the tailspin left by Bush Co. despite having no help from the GOP/Tea Party (they care so much about this country).

Topple...that's what you'd like to see this country do. Am I right?

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 5 months ago

"He says anything to get elected because he cares so much about this country." You just described every president for the last 40 years. See Liberty_One's post above for some truth. There IS no difference between Republicrats and Democans...They offer only an illusion of choice. These psychopaths are all owned by the Military-Industrial-Complex and Wall Street. If you want to see any change vote for Ron Paul or, better yet, a third party candidate. http://www.maniacworld.com/illusion-of-free-choice.jpg

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 5 months ago

"There is no real difference between Obama and Romney."

That's idiotic-- the differences are on some issues marginal, but on many others very significant.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 5 months ago

You've been warned dozens of time-- do not respond to my posts.

Anthony Mall 2 years, 5 months ago

Obama has failed to lead the democratic party, failed to lead this country, and failed to represent the people... He failed to accomplish anything with both houses, he lost democratic seats (how you lose Kennedy's seat to a young republican in Massachusetts is beyond me), his own party won't support his policies (5 more democrats voted to repeal obamacare yesterday), and the economy is moving in the right direction??? the only people in this economy that are happy are the people not looking for work, why take a pay cut when Obama pays them more to do nothing... I lost my job when the economy tanked and was out of work for 5 months, but I took less money to start a new because that's what adults do... Obama is a failure and though I'm not a Romney fan it can't be worse than nothing for the last 3.5 years...

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 5 months ago

"Obama is a failure and though I'm not a Romney fan it can't be worse than nothing for the last 3.5 years..."

Yes, it can be worse. And for the vast majority of people in your position, the election of Romney will with all certainty make things much worse.

But your disappointment with Obama is not unfounded.

John Kyle 2 years, 5 months ago

Oh, Cal. Republicans are trying their hardest to make the unemployment rate the key to their winning the November election but the American people aren't buying it. We know that Obama has introduced legislation to create jobs and help the average guy but the House refuses to even consider them.
Obama is not 'spinning' anything. It's people like Cal doing the spinning.

Maybe Cal can do a piece on how Bush's policies 'helped' the economy....oh wait, I forgot...we're supposed to forget Bush.

Anthony Mall 2 years, 5 months ago

Oh I'm republican just not a bible thumping, anti things that aren't political protesting, right wing extremist... Just not a huge Romney fan, but ill take him over NOTHING for the last 3.5 years lol... Hell I'll take a trained monkey right now, at least that would be entertaining (kinda like Reagan in his later years in office lol)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 5 months ago

Romney has one agenda, and one agenda only-- to give even more power and wealth to the Wall Street/corporate plutocracy-- do you really think that's going to be good for you? Will more of their crap games played with your money really be all that amusing?

Flap Doodle 2 years, 5 months ago

Come on, the private sector is doing fine. (from a source)

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 5 months ago

Republicans Were Wrong in 1993 On The Effect Of Upper-Income Tax Increases.

"Republicans in 1993 claimed Bill Clinton’s tax increase on the wealthy would screw the middle class and put people out of work. What happened? The unemployment rate dropped from 6.9% to 3.9%, the deficit fell every year and by the time Clinton left office, we were on track to eliminate the entire national debt."

http://www.cagle.com/2012/07/republicans-were-wrong-in-1993-on-the-effect-of-upper-income-tax-increases/

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 5 months ago

Correction, going the opposite way under Reagan, H. W. Bush, Bush Co. and Obama. See here: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/23/Federal_Debt_1901-2010.png

And here: http://zfacts.com/p/318.html

Voodoo Economic, I believe it was called.

Topple 2 years, 5 months ago

Crazylarry, I'm not sure why you keep bringing up past presidents that we cannot change. They're out of office, and are not running again. Obama, our CURRENT problem in office, IS running again.

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 5 months ago

Because Bush Co. spent like a drunken sailor, lied us into an unfunded war, which helped to crash the economy. Then the republicrats bowed out, handing it off to Obama and the democans who's only choice was to spend, spend, spend in order to keep this country from going into complete depression. Wasn't it obvious as the nose on your face that McCain and the Republicrats purposely lost the 2008 elections? They would have had to of done he exact same thing Obama has done. But, hey, lets forget the past and how we came to this point in time. THE BLACK GUY CRASHED OUR COUNTRY!!!! The reality is that these politicians are tag teaming the average joe for the benefit of themselves and their 0.01% pay masters. They do not care if the country crashes and burns because they'll just move off to Belize with their billions and live happily ever after.

yourworstnightmare 2 years, 5 months ago

Cal: "... or whether it should return to the safe harbor of living within our means and doing more for ourselves."

Oh, you mean under Bill Clinton? You surely can't be talking about GWB.

Ridiculous and embarrassing disconnect from reality.

pizzapete 2 years, 5 months ago

Not to mention Obama's going to take away our guns, outlaw the pledge of allegiance, send American jobs and money to China, make us eat broccoli, listen to rap music, and watch Jane Fonda exercise videos (flex). Romney on the other hand is going to spur Jesus to come back to Indepence, MO., where he's going to put all the rightgeous Americans on a big space ship speeding off toward our ultimate salvation. It should be an obvious choice come November.

tbaker 2 years, 5 months ago

The unemployment rate among blacks and other minorities, and the 18-24 year-old demographic is at historic levels.

Voter turn-out for Mr. Obama in 2008 among these groups was also historic.

I wonder how this will all play in 2012 election. I can't put my finger on it, but I think the conventional wisdom is wrong. Assuming the terrible economy and high unemployment in these groups would impact how eager they are to support Mr. Obama a second time I do not believe applies. I believe the partisanship is so strong, unemployment could be 100% in these groups and they would still support Mr. Obama.

Topple 2 years, 5 months ago

African Americans don't care if he's a complete dullard. They voted for him because he's African American, and will again.

beatrice 2 years, 5 months ago

Wonder how much of the White Mormon vote Romney will get? I'll bet it will be far above the averages represented just among Whites. Must mean Mormons are racist then, right?

Or is a group that sees itself as suppressed by the greater society finally helping someone of their group move up?

But of course, any White person who voted for McCain couldn't possibly have done so because of race.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 5 months ago

Like he closed GITMO and is running the most transparent administration ever?

beatrice 2 years, 5 months ago

Compared to -- Vote for Romney and give your stuff to the wealthy.

All just silly statements that mean nothing.

heygary 2 years, 5 months ago

There is a long-held belief that democracies, in general, are a predictably doomed form of government.

In the year 1787, Alexander Tyler (Scottish history professor - University of Edinborough) used an analogy to describe "The Fall of The Athenian Republic" some 2,000 years prior: “A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years, during which these nations always progressed through the following sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to complacency; From complacency to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.”

From my vantage point, Mr. Tyler’s observation has been unsettlingly predictive of the path of our own experiment in Democracy.

In my youth I studied, with gratitude and reverence, the “bondage to liberty” sequence associated with the birth of our country. I believe I have lived through the “abundance to apathy” sequence. Now, as I watch the “escapades” of our elected representatives in Washington, I cannot help but feel that the road to “dependence” is being charted.

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 5 months ago

This old myth is so grey bearded and mossy it should have died a long time ago. Amazing that it's still on life support.

Kirk Larson 2 years, 5 months ago

Number of times House republicans have voted (uselessly) to repeal the Affordable Care Act: 32. Number of times House republicans have brought the President's jobs bill to a vote: 0.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 5 months ago

Number number of Democrats in Congress that voted for the last budget proposed by the current regime: 0

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 5 months ago

I think you need to look at the title of the article. Your own spin is a little wobbly.

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 5 months ago

"In a move to embarrass the president, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions decided to offer a Democratic budget of his own: Obama’s fiscal 2013 blueprint." Jeff Sessions is a Republican. Of course the budget failed because he introduced it as an up and down vote with no debate.

Olympia Snowe, who is a moderate Republican (what snap calls a "RINO", despite the fact that she's been in the Senate since Noah), voted against all five budgets for that reason. She called it “a slap-dash method of legislating,” Keep drinking that FOX Koolaid, Snap.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 5 months ago

"..what snap calls a "RINO"..." Link to one post on this award-winning website where I've called any politician a RINO. You can't because I've not done that. Your delusions are amusing, but only barely.

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 5 months ago

Strawman fail, snap. Please address your original comment which centered on an incident where Congress was playing schoolyard games instead of doing the job they were elected to do.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 5 months ago

Actual citation please. You & cait just making stuff up doesn't feed the bulldog.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 5 months ago

You smoking the same stuff cait is, ag?

pizzapete 2 years, 5 months ago

Someone who "smokes" dope but doesn't come off as a complete "idiot" when he speaks is "impressive". "Maybe" you should "give" it a try "flex". "New American" does that "mean" black?

pizzapete 2 years, 5 months ago

No, I neither smoke pot nor work in the food industry. Do you really think in this day and age someone shouldn't be president because they smoked pot in their youth? I imagine our last president could teach Obama a thing or two about partying his way through adolescence. Why don't you guys (if you're not the same person) talk about any "real" issues?

beatrice 2 years, 5 months ago

If only Reagan hadn't gotten the ball rolling by tripling the deficit during his time in office, which has only been exacerbated by the massive tax cuts for the wealthy and the drain of unfunded wars in the past decade.

But why let a bit of history get in the way of your rants.

pace 2 years, 5 months ago

Worst congress ever. Votes on crappola and anti working families, votes to not help middle class. They are owned.

Orwell 2 years, 5 months ago

Anyone remember the classic example of chutzpah? It's the guy who kills his parents, then pleads from mercy from the judge on the grounds that he's an orphan. This is precisely equivalent to the Republicans who have obstructed every effort to address unemployment, only to attack the president for failing to solve unemployment.

Try to spin this approach however you like, this conscious Republican strategy is egregiously hypocritical and shamefully anti-American.

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