Bad News For Republicans, Good News For America And The Kenyan Socialist In The White’s House

UNEMPLOYMENT FEB 2013No one is satisfied with these numbers, but imagine what they would be like if President Obama and the Democrats didn’t have to fight with Republicans over debt ceilings, fiscal cliffs, sequesters, and threats of government shutdowns.

Over at Fox “News,” they had their fair and balanced spin on the good news:

fox news headline

Unbelievably—no wait, believably—the story began this way:

Despite the Obama administration’s doomsday warnings about the impact of sequester, hiring picked up last month as the unemployment rate fell to the lowest level in four years. 

You see? Far from giving the President’s economic policies any credit for the good news, Fox says things got better in spite of the President.

Happy Fair and Balanced Day To You Too!

“Very Good” Report, But It Takes A While To Clean Up After Republicans

I was watching CNN this morning when the new—and “very good“— jobs numbers (as Mark Zandi characterized them later on MSNBC) came out. Guess who CNN, the network that tries hard at times to be a watered down version of Fox “News,” had on to comment on the numbers? No, come on, guess.

Oh, I knew you couldn’t guess. It was, uh, Grover Norquist. I’ll spare you what Grover had to say (that is something you could guess), but the point is there was no one on the panel of guests to counter the nonsense he spouted. I guess all the good guys were busy congratulating those conspirators at the Bureau of Labor Statistics for another job well done making Obama look good.

In any case, the numbers for October signal a continuing improvement. There were 184,000 private sector jobs added—32 months of consecutive growth—which represents the largest gain in eight months (government jobs continue to decline, as 13,000 more were lost, split fairly evenly between federal and state).  Because of the increased number of folks entering the job market (always a good sign), the unemployment rate rose to 7.9, from last month’s 7.8 (which, of course, the right-wing labeled a conspiracy).

What often gets lost in the Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly report are the revised numbers for the last two months:

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for August was revised from +142,000 to +192,000, and the change for September was revised from +114,000 to +148,000.

That revision represents 84,000 more jobs added over the previous two months than previously reported.

So, although there is still a lot of Republican economics to fix, things are, indisputably, getting better and better.

Before I go, let’s play the guessing game again. What would you guess Fox “News” was doing after these “very good” numbers came out at around 7:30 C.S.T.?

Oh, I know, this one was easy, given what Fox has been doing for the past three weeks:

You gotta hand it to those guys. They are not ashamed of what they do.

By the way, in case you can’t quite figure out what that graphic in the right hand corner says, here is a better look:

Obama is one bad cat. One cover up isn’t good enough for him, he has to have two, or, who knows, possibly more. Perhaps next week’s Fox graphic will be a trifecta of intrigue: “Cover-up of the Cover-up of the Cover-up.”

It’s Driving Them Nuts

Falling to a 44-month low, the unemployment rate of 7.8 percent—the lowest it has been since January of 2009—deprives Mittens of a valuable talking point, the one in which he reminds voters how long the number has been above 8 percent.

The economy has now added 5.2 million private sector jobs over the last 31 months, which goes to show that Republicans, who have tried their best to sabotage the economic recovery, can’t even get that right.

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As we might expect, the relatively good news on the job front means that a conspiracy is afoot. Like Mittens’ low poll numbers, there is a diabolical plan to skew the results in Obama’s favor. From Media Matters this morning:

Unbleepingbelievable.

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More unbleepingbelievable stuff:

The unhinged from left to right: Stuart Varney of Fox “News”; Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric; Rep. Allen West (R-Fla); Rick Santelli of CNBC, credited with starting the Tea Party movement with a rant against Obama.

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Finally, speaking of that 7.8 percent job number, I agree with Republicans that it should be lower, and as Mark Gongloff points out, it is Congress—paralyzed by an honest-to-goodness Republican plot to undermine Obama—that is to blame:

For example, had Congress passed the American Jobs Act last year instead of letting it die, there might have been an extra 1.3 million to 1.9 million new jobs created this year, according to estimates by Macroeconomic Advisers and Moody’s Analytics, respectively…

On top of that, you could add the 575,000 government jobs that have been cut since Obama took office in January 2009…That extra 575,000 workers — again, assuming no change in the labor force — gets unemployment down to 6.8 percent. We haven’t seen 6.8 percent unemployment since November 2008.

Stimulus: “It Did What It Was Supposed To Do”

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, was asked about the latest jobs report on The Daily Rundown this morning:

LUKE RUSSERT: The stimulus worked a little bit, you think, here?

ZANDI: I think it was a success, yes. It did end the recession; it jump-started our recovery. It’s not a source of long-term economic growth—it was never intended to be—but it did what it was supposed to do.

Voters should remember that the positive news in February means 24 consecutive months of private-sector job growth, and they should remember this too:

 

Help For The Confused

Here are a couple of graphics from MSNBC this morning:

Now, Mitt Romney has repeatedly said that Mr. Obama has made the economy or the recession “worse.”  But  he has also said that he didn’t say that the President has made the economy worse. But he has also said the economy is actually getting better.  Mitt is all things to all confused people.

But even confused people can look at the graphics above and begin to understand that the strategy underlying Romney’s campaign for president is, well, as weird and creepy as creep-in-chief Donald Trump’s hair.

Speaking of which, I thought it was altogether fitting when Mr. Trump endorsed Romney and when Romney enthusiastically accepted his endorsement. Someone has to sew up the creep demographic in America and I prefer Trump take all of the suspense out of it now, so Obama can start working on confused Americans.

Today’s job report is a good start.

Good News, Unless You Listen To The News

The economy has had its best news in a couple of years, and here is how the so-called liberal Huffington Post played it:

Wow. That headline is something one might expect to read on Fox.

While it is true that 315,000 folks dropped out of the labor force, no one knows why they did. Did some of them start a new business, as some in the Administration suggest?  Sure, it is quite likely that the majority of those folks did get discouraged and stopped looking for work, but at best that number only represented one-half of the 4-point decrease.

In any case, the private sector job growth under Obama continued to improve (November’s increase was 140,000) and the average combined job growth for the past 12 months for both the public and private sectors is 131,000. That’s not enough, but it is a hell of a lot better than the 800,000 jobs (how soon we forget) we were losing when Mr. Obama first moved into the White’s House.

Government jobs continued to die, including the Postal Service, which lost 5,000 more, one-fourth of the 20,000 public sector jobs lost in November.

Perhaps more important, the revised (and more accurate) numbers for September came in at 210,000 new jobs (revised up from 158,000) and October’s performance was upgraded to 100,000 from 80,000.

All in all, this is relatively good news, although you wouldn’t know it from some of the reporting going on out there.

Heritagethink

“To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies…”

—definition of “doublethink” from George Orwell’s 1984

 

As an example of how a right-wing think tank—if that’s what you want to call the hopelessly extreme Heritage Foundation—spins the facts when a Democrat is in the White’s House, let’s look at today’s employment report from the Department of Labor for last month:

Nonfarm payroll employment continued to trend up in October (+80,000), and the unemployment rate was little changed at 9.0 percent, the U.S.Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

By now most people have heard that bit of information. It has been spread far and wide today with various interpretations, from “anemic” to “hopeful.” (Private sector payrolls actually increased by 104,000, which means more government jobs were lost, but since Republicans don’t count government jobs as real jobs, I suppose that doesn’t matter much.)

But what most people probably haven’t heard, unless they have been paying close attention, is the following, from the same jobs report:

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for August was revised from +57,000 to +104,000, and the change for September was revised from +103,000 to +158,000. 

Those revisions are fairly substantial, particularly the August revision.  Perhaps most people have forgotten, but the original August report, which was used to blast the Obama Administration, said this:

Nonfarm payroll employment was unchanged (0) in August, and the unemployment rate held at 9.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

It doesn’t take a Pythagoras to figure out that the original August report was off by 104,000 jobs, which is because the data is always subject to refining, as more reliable information is factored in.

But here is how the Heritage Foundation’s Mike Brownfield, billed as the “Assistant Director of Strategic Communications,” spun the August numbers on the foundation’s policy news blog:

President Obama enters this Labor Day weekend with a serious problem on his hands. For all intents and purposes, the economy appears to be stuck in neutral, with news out today that the U.S. economy created a grand total of zero jobs in August. This followed two months of near zero growth. Not surprisingly then, the unemployment rate in August remained at 9.1 percent, virtually unchanged since April. In fact, it was completely unchanged, and for the first time since 1945, no new jobs were created—Zero.

America now has the weakest labor market in a generation, and the American people know it…

The two-and-a-half-year Keynesian experiment of flooding the economy with taxpayer dollars has failed, yet the President and his union allies continue to peddle the myth that the only way to save the economy is to spend more. There’s another way to go: freeing America’s small businesses from the day-to-day shackles of existing over-regulation, freeing families and entrepreneurs of the threat of higher taxes, and cutting spending to eliminate the constraining fear of America’s debt crisis. Zero job growth does not have to be America’s reality, but changing course will mean ditching the dream that more government spending will save the day.

Blah. Blah. Blah. We expect the Heritage Foundation to behave this way with the facts, since it was founded by right-wing extremists like Joseph Coors and Richard Mellon Scaife and is sustained by right-wing extremists like the Koch brothers.

But shouldn’t a think tank at least trust its readers to engage in some thinking?  Here is how the same guy, Mike Brownfield, reported today’s news about jobs:

No news is good news–except when it means that the story about America’s slow-moving economy remains the same…

The word from the monthly jobs report shows that unemployment was little unchanged at 9 percent in October, with only 80,000 jobs created. While it’s always good news when jobs are created (especially given this Administration’s record), there isn’t much of a sign of a strong economic recovery…

Today’s economic report shows more of the same economic news for America, and President Obama is responding with more of the same policies that won’t change the country’s economic direction.

Not a word in the article about the August or September revisions.

Now, given the big deal that was made by Mr. Brownfield about the “Zero job growth” in August, one would think that an organization that claims it is a “research and educational institution” would at least bother to point out that the “Zero job growth” was in fact  an increase of 108,000 jobs, right?

Of course I know better than that. The point is that these think tanks on the right are in fact don’t-think-just-believe-what-we-say tanks.

The truth is that for 20 straight months the economy has added private sector jobs, to the tune of 2.8 million, which is far too few, but still moving in the right direction.  And we would be in better shape still if we hadn’t lost almost half a million government jobs over the last 20 months.

But, again, as Billy Long said on Wednesday, those “public sector jobs” are “usually wasteful,” so good riddance.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans shot down another chance to create thousands upon thousands of jobs, and the Heritage Foundation couldn’t be happier.

Tea Party Tongues

The jobs numbers are out for June and it is becoming clear that the Tea Party has paralyzed not only the government, but it has gone a long way toward freezing in place a weak recovery.

Oh, I know the right-wing is proud of its achievements.  After all, they have managed to bring Democrats to the budget-cutting table; they have all politicians now talking in Tea Party tongues; they have managed to change the debate from what to do about the struggling economy and jobs to how much to cut entitlement programs and other staples in the Democratic Party and American diet, like, say, education.

They have done a lot those teapartiers. But they certainly can be most proud of contributing significantly to stagnating economic growth and keeping unemployment high—both of which just happen to be politically deadly for Barack Obama in 2012—and they show little sign of relenting.

Their continued opposition to government stimulus—in any form—and their continued insistence that we can cut our way to prosperity, including cutting taxes even further than the government-starving ratios in place now, is the most significant contributing factor in our inability to escape the black hole of the Great Recession.

The unemployment rate has now crept up to 9.2% and job growth has been essentially flat the last two months.  But the worst of the news is summarized in this sentence from CNN:

So far, the nation has only gained back about a fifth of the 8.8 million jobs lost during the recession.

And while Tea Party Republicans in Congress have spent a good deal of time fretting over Planned Parenthood and National Public Radio and other non-jobs concerns, they have managed to do what many of them said they wanted to do when they ran for office. From Bloomberg:

Employment in government continued to trend down over the month (-39,000). Federal employment declined by 14,000 in June. Employment in both state government and local government continued to trend down over the month and has been falling since the second half of 2008.

Yep, they can be proud of this accomplishment, as thousands upon thousands of teachers and other “government” workers join the millions of other victims of the kind of Republican economics that ruled the day not so long ago and a kind of economics that will—if Mr. Obama is defeated in 2012 because of the bad jobs numbers this year—rule our tomorrow.

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