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All Da King's Men

The Politicization Of Jobs

By Da King Published: February 6, 2010

Here's Speaker Of The House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), talking about job losses:

“...misguided economic policies have failed to create jobs. Since [the President] took office, the country has lost 3.2 million jobs, the worst record since President Hoover...Job losses are taking a real toll on the financial security of American families...According to today’s survey, while the national unemployment rate dropped slightly, it still stands at a near record high."

Pelosi is being pretty hard on President Obama here, isn't she ?

No, not a bit. Pelosi wasn't talking about Obama. The words I quoted above are from August 2003, and San Fran Nan was talking about President Bush's "misguided economic policies." After Bush had been in office 19 months, Pelosi was castigating the President for an unemployment rate of 6.1%, caused mainly by the recession Bush inherited and 9/11. If Bush implemented any "misguided economic policies" that negatively affected unemployment, then Pelosi must be referring to Bush's across-the-board tax cuts for all taxpayers, though that doesn't make any sense. Tax cuts would only assuage rising unemployment, not add to it. Ask Obama, he cut taxes in his stimulus package to assuage rising unemployment.

Now, let me give you the statement Pelosi did make about the current job situation, with unemployment at 9.7% (actually waaaay higher) and a Democratic President at the helm who presided over more than 4 million job losses in his first 12 months in office:

"Today's jobs report marks a welcome step in the right direction for our economy and our families: the unemployment rate is going down. The Recovery Act, which Congress passed one year ago to pull our economy back from the brink of collapse, has already created or saved nearly 2 million jobs so far. Yet our work is far from over. This recession that President Obama inherited has taken the worst toll on our job market since World War II.

Here we have a tale of two Presidents - they both inherited recessions. They both presided over an economy shedding jobs during their first year in office....Notice how Pelosi treats the two Presidents exactly the same, lol. Just kidding. That's the opposite of what Pelosi did. She blamed Bush for recessionary circumstances beyond his control and cast Bush's jobs performance in the worst possible light, while she gave credit to President Obama for recessionary circumstances beyond his control and cast Obama's jobs performance in the best possible light. That's the politicization of jobs.

That's also why I hate most politicians with a passion, and wouldn't trust them to feed my cat while I was out of town, much less trust them to run the country.

It's not only Democrats who politicize jobs, of course. The Republicans are doing their level best to blame job losses on Obama now, and they continually cite Obama's guarantee that unemployment would not rise above 8% if the stimulus package was passed. Okay, so Obama miscalculated. So what ? Who didn't miscalculate the size of this recession ? Almost everyone did, or at least everyone who had it in their power to do something about it. In any case, it's not like Obama was elected President due to his expertise in economics. He was elected due to his soarting rhetoric, not his record of achievement. He didn't have a record of achievement. He's learning on the job right now. That's OUR fault, not his.

I don't blame the job losses on President Obama. It's unfair to do so, any more than it was to blame the 2001-2002 job losses on Bush. If I have any criticism of Obama on jobs, it would probably be his obsession with health care reform in his first year when there were more pressing economic matters. Also, the uncertainty surrounding the future of health care makes the private sector unsure and hesitant. Business people like to know what their costs and risks are prior to making financial commitments, and Obama has introduced a significant amount of uncertainty into the private sector. We don't know what health care will cost. We don't know what energy will cost. We don't know where taxes will be. We don't know what regulations will be put into place. He's subsidizing one company and not another. And lately, since the Massachusetts election, Obama's policies seem like a patchwork quilt of confusion. He's trying to be a liberal, a moderate, and a conservative all at the same time. It almost seems like he's campaigning instead of leading. All his promises come with expiration dates, and a lot of his rhetoric seems tied to the previous day's news cycle, never a good sign for a President. Obama has added more uncertainty to already extremely uncertain times. Then he wonders why banks are hesitant to loan money, after the banks just got devastated from making questionable loans. It doesn't take a crystal ball to see why they are hesitant now.

But the job losses ? No, those are not Obama's fault, just as the majority of the decrease in the job losses have little to do with Obama either, though he'd like you to believe otherwise. They have more to do with the overall stabilization of the economy. We hit bottom (for now), that's all. You can credit TARP and other bailouts and rescue efforts for stabilizing the financial system and the economy, and you can credit the stimulus package for stopping an even worse hemorrhaging of jobs if you wish, even though we can't measure it. I'm sure over $350 billion spent in stimulus so far had some effect, even if it didn't "save or create 2 million jobs" as the President claims. In fact, if we have to give someone the most credit for stopping the financial collapse and therefore saving jobs, it's probably the Fed, who committed $6.4 trillion to the financial rescue effort. Yes, you heard that number correctly. That's $6.4 TRILLION. If you want to get really depressed, go to this CNN Money link for a list of all the financial rescue efforts. In total, THE GOVERNMENT HAS COMMITTED OVER $11 TRILLION. Thus, using the word "credit" to talk about job loss reductions is a mixed blessing at best. The government cures are almost as bad as the disease, maybe worse.

Not that there's anything to worry about.



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