Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It's the Economy Stupid....

Ok, let's take a break from the health care debate. The townhalls seem to working. Gallup: Public support for health care legislation drops from 56% to 35% over past four weeks. I'll take a little comfort in that. Especially since there is no comfort to take in the job numbers. If only we were expending the energy from the healthcare debate, on getting Americans back to work.

You know it's bad when Bob Herbert at the NYT even sees it:

You can put whatever kind of gloss you want on last week’s jobs numbers, but the truth is that while they may have been a bit better than most economists were expecting, they were still bad, bad, bad.


The country has lost a crippling 6.7 million jobs since the Great Recession began in December 2007. No one is predicting a recovery in the foreseeable future powerful enough to replace the millions of jobs that have vanished in this historic downturn.

Analysts at the Economic Policy Institute noted that the economy has fewer jobs now than it had in 2000, “even though the labor force has grown by around 12 million workers since then.”

Two issues that absolutely undermine any rosy assessment of last week’s employment report are the swelling ranks of the long-term unemployed and the crushing levels of joblessness among young Americans. More than five million workers — about a third of the unemployed — have been jobless for more than six months. That’s the highest number recorded since accurate records have been kept.

The Obama administration tried to find some silver lining in the jobless rate ticking down 0.1 percent last month, but as Hebert points out, it wasn't because more people found jobs, but because 450,000 people withdrew from the labor market. They stopped looking, so they weren’t counted as unemployed. This isn't something to celebrate.

It's ironic that so many in the black community looked to Obama to finally make things better in the country for them. Since Obama took office more black men are losing jobs than at any time since World War II. While unemployment in general is at 9.4%, for black men age 20 and up the unemployment rate was was 14.5% in June.

Pres. Obama imagines that having some beerfest with his Harvard professor friend and the cop that arrested him, will somehow help with racial issues. Prof. Gates represented the average black man about as much Paris Hilton represents the average nun. It was ridiculous.

There is a real need here in the black community, and it has nothing to do with cops and class. It has to do with jobs.

Everyone is hurting and I just can't believe we are wasting our time and energy on issues that can be dealt with at a later time. We can still talk health care reform next year. We can talk immigration reform next year. We can talk energy and cap and trade next year. They will all still be there. But NOW is the time to focus on jobs, and our government is doing everything but that.

It's bad folks, and if the Obama administration could take a breath and stop trying to create their little liberal utopia in the first year, they might realize that it's important to actually govern and get this economy moving.