Like Wonderland, life in the Obama economic recovery is getting curiouser and curiouser.
Today’s federal jobless numbers indicated a change for the better, with the unemployment rate dropping three-tenths of a percentage point to 7.0 percent in November. Yet there were more jobs created in October (204,000), when the unemployment rate actually rose one-tenth of a point that in November (203,000). The labor force participation rate is flat as well. And we are entering the temporary boost of holiday season. Jobs numbers may also be influenced by the end of October’s federal government slowdown.
Speaking of influence, there is also a potential scandal — largely under the radar right now — in which the government’s job figures in 2012 may have been spoiled by tainted survey data.
What does all this mean?
As he usually does when the federal jobless report is released, Project 21 member Derryck Green shares his wisdom and commentary about the economic state of the nation in his “About Those Jobs Numbers” report.
This month, Derryck says:
It would appear there’s reason for celebration at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It was announced that the official unemployment rate has fallen to 7.0 percent for the month of November.
Really? I mean,… really?!
That appears to be an improvement, but the U-6 rate — the calculation that includes all of the people out of work, underemployed and so despondent that they’ve given up despite being able-bodied and ready to work — remains at a very high rate of 13.2 percent (not quite twice as much as, but close enough to, the lower rate that the media will report and Obama will embrace).
And then there are the more specific unemployment rates among the President’s key supporters.
For Hispanics, for instance, the unemployment rate is 8.7 percent. For blacks, Obama’s most ardent supporters, the unemployment rate is 12.5 percent. This, by the way, finally breaks the 55-month run during the Obama presidency in which the black unemployment rate was at least thirteen percent or higher. Hooray!
Unemployment among black teens dipped only slightly to 35.8 percent. This makes it the 54th month that the unemployment rate for black American teens has been at least 35 percent.
Many people may have good reason to question the accuracy of these numbers. There’s reason to believe the monthly jobless reports may actually have been worse than the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. These numbers might have been manipulated to reflect a strengthening economy, just as it seems they were doctored during last year’s election cycle.
It’s been reported that at least one former Census Bureau employee was caught “fabricating data that went into the unemployment report.” Higher-ups allegedly encouraged this, and false survey data showed an increased number of Americans employed. It’s believed this dropped the unemployment rate significantly — thus helping President Obama in his bid for re-election. In August of 2012, the rate was 8.1 percent. The next four months the rate was 7.8 percent, 7.9 percent, 7.8 percent and 7.8 percent, respectively.
More troubling, because this possible scandal has largely been swept under the carpet, there’s no guarantee a corrupt manipulation of the numbers isn’t currently happening. If it is, the unemployment rate — both the official U-3 and the total U-6 figures — could be much higher. This would mean that the economy could be in worse shape than were being led to believe.
And, just a reminder: the President essentially moved the Census Bureau into the White House at the beginning of his first term, giving then-chief of staff Rahm Emanuel oversight of the 2010 population count. This further raises the appearance of impropriety when it comes to speculation about the politicization of economic numbers.
This possible falsification of economic data is yet another manifestation of the questionable behavior that undermines the Obama Administration’s credibility. Considering all that’s happened with topics such as ObamaCare, Benghazi, the IRS allegedly targeting conservatives and Operation Fast and Furious, I’m not sure this administration has any credibility left!
Then there’s the overall misery in America.
Aside from the record number of 47 million Americans on welfare, President Obama’s economic stewardship also increased the number of Americans on federal disability to approximately 11 million people — a number higher than the populations of countries such as Greece or Portugal. Even worse, the Disability Insurance Trust Fund, one of the many federal “safety nets,” has run a deficit every fiscal year during Obama’s reign. The insurance fund program ran a deficit just 11 years in its almost 60-year history — with five of those 11 years belonging to our current dear leader.
One would think all this misery would make revenue-collection hard for the government. To the contrary. Remember, this is the Obama era.
The White House expects to collect over $3 trillion in revenue as a result of last year’s bipartisan tax increases. This will be a record for federal tax collectors.
It seems the only time both political parties come together is to confiscate the money from hardworking Americans, regardless of how quickly that number may decrease.
Possibly doctored jobless numbers, accompanied by a sense of apathy and despair, are a characteristic staple of the Obama economy.
The so-called economic recovery under Obama seems much too slow to compensate for the number of Americans out of work. It’s why people like me consider it possibly the worst recovery in our nation’s history.
Obama’s apparent attempt to cure the slow-growth economy this week, by the way, was another long and uninspiring campaign speech about income disparity.
I apologize in advance to Oprah, as she may feel that I’m disrespecting the executive office. But the President is foolish. Obama’s a foolish, foolish man if he thinks that boring, recycled campaign rhetoric predicated on class warfare and envy qualifies as economic policy.
Obama said on December 4: “I believe this is the defining challenge of our time — Making sure our economy works for every working American. It’s why I ran for president. It was at the center of last year’s campaign. It drives everything I do in this office. I do it because the outcomes of the debates we’re having right now… all these things will have real, practical implications for every American.”
This would qualify as the belly laugh of the year if the consequences of his ineptitude weren’t so serious.
It’s also another lie.
The rest of President Obama’s recycled campaign speech was his desire to reduce inequality, which in progressive-speak means more redistribution. The speech, reflective of the President’s economic plan as a whole, lacked a vital, critical element — detailed plans for growth.
Reducing inequality from the top down through redistribution, rather than from the bottom up through increased economic prosperity — resulting from emergent economic opportunities without detailed plans for economic growth — is not only foolish, it’s irresponsible.
But being economically foolish and irresponsible has characterized the President Obama’s entire time in office.
top photo credit: iStockPhoto