Friday, June 10, 2011

Employment Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Here's a graph that shows the huge loss of jobs during the Great Recession of 2008-2009 and the long way we have to go to get out of that hole despite a year of job creation. You can see that this will take several years.

Here's how the White House Council of Economic Advisors spun the numbers:

Private sector payrolls increased by 83,000 in May and the unemployment rate ticked up to 9.1 percent. There are always bumps on the road to recovery, but the overall trajectory of the economy has improved dramatically over the past two years.

While the private sector has added more than 2.1 million jobs over the past 15 months, the unemployment rate is unacceptably high and faster growth is needed to replace the jobs lost in the downturn. The initiatives put in place by this Administration – such as the payroll tax cut and business incentives for investment – have contributed to solid employment growth overall this year, but this report is a reminder of the challenges that remain. We are focused on promoting exports, reducing regulatory burdens and making the investments in education, research and development, and infrastructure that will grow our economy and create jobs. We will continue to work with Congress to responsibly reduce the deficit and live within our means.
Here is how Mitt Romney responded:

President Obama recently responded to last month's unexpectedly high unemployment numbers by saying they were just "bumps on the road to recovery."

Unemployment is not just a statistic. Unemployment means kids can't go to college; that marriages break up under the financial strain; that young people can't find work and start their lives; that men and women in their 50s fear they will never find a job again. Today, 14 million Americans are out of work.

Sign the petition to show President Obama that, for too many Americans, unemployment is real. It will take a real leader to recognize that, and do something about it.
That's fine, but I haven't found signing petitions terribly effective at job creation and a real leader would recognize that. A real leader would also pick up on what the White House offers in the last sentence quoted above: "We will continue to work with Congress to responsibly reduce the deficit and live within our means."

Michele Bachman also has a petition to sign:

With the national debt $14 trillion and counting, Congress' spending frenzy cannot continue. It's time to force our elected officials to stop spending cold turkey, and we can start by making sure they do not raise the debt ceiling.

That's why I'm asking you to personally tell Congress not to increase the amount of money the government can borrow by adding your name to the "Don't Raise the Debt Ceiling" petition.
The stalled deficit reduction talks between the President and Congress are likely the bumps we have hit on the road to recovery. Will this kind of posturing get us over the bumps? Not if it goes on too long.

Deficits can create jobs .in the short term, but they also kill jobs and the extra burden of taxation deficits impose over the longer term makes jobs more difficult to create. That was the real lesson of the Reagan years and the Clinton years.

The priority needs to be on lowering the deficit as we come out of the recession. To my mind, that's going to require both spending cuts and tax increases. I don't like that, particularly the prospect of a tax increase, but it's necessary to pay the bills. What we will probably get is a 3 month summer vacation followed by 15 months of campaigning.

Where will we be at the end of that 18 months? Probably not back to the pre-recession employment levels, judging by the picture. I will blame both the Democrats and Republicans for that. So I will save the remaining 350 words.

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