The August jobs report is in, and analysts agree that the 96,000 jobs created falls in the category of “meh.” Not so low or so high as to be a game changer in the presidential race, but… still lower than expectations.
In a word, “meh.”
Not surprisingly, Republican leaders are jumping all over it, decrying President Obama and his policies, and calling for his ouster in November even more fervently. There’s just a few problems with this:
- Job losses in the final month of the Bush administration were 741,000. Again, 741,000 jobs lost. This wasn’t just a normal slowdown, it was the road to a second great depression. If that job-loss trend had continued, we’d have over 30% unemployment right now. Growth may be slower than we’d like, but it’s a heck of a lot better than the catastrophe we could’ve had.
- Republicans have tried to block any reasonable effort to get the economy moving faster. There is a jobs bill right now from President Obama, languishing in the House. A bill that would create over 1 million jobs. But Republicans refuse to act on it.
- Reality no longer matters to Republicans. President Obama’s stimulus package reduced unemployment from a high of 10% to a little over 8%. Exactly the 2 percentage points that economists (most notably Paul Krugman) predicted at the time. And 92% of economists surveyed by the University of Chicago agreed the stimulus created jobs. The sensible path would be to have another effin stimulus, and bring unemployment down by another 2 points, or ideally even more. Sensible, but in a world where one party has sworn off common sense and rationality altogether, politically impossible.
It was Bush’s policies that got us into this mess, and now Republican leaders are calling for getting us out of it by… calling for a return to Bush’s policies.
The arsonists who burned down our house are giving us fire safety tips. Don’t listen to them.