The recent unemployment figures, 9.4% of Americans out of work blows through the President’s projection at the time of the porkulous debate. At that time, America was promised that if his bill was passed, unemployment would not rise higher than 8%.
The spike in unemployment is a black-eye to the president as it is proof that the President’s plan of government spending like a drunken sailor on shore leave is doing very little to help the economy.
The administration is so embarrassed about the bad numbers that they have revised their promises. Job creation is no longer the bell weather statistic, now it is jobs created or saved:
His latest invocation came yesterday, when the president declared that the stimulus had already saved or created at least 150,000 American jobs — and announced he was ramping up some of the stimulus spending so he could “save or create” an additional 600,000 jobs this summer. These numbers come in the context of an earlier Obama promise that his recovery plan will “save or create three to four million jobs over the next two years.” (source WSJ)
The reason for the change is that “saved jobs” is unmeasurable:
Of course, the inability to measure Mr. Obama’s jobs formula is part of its attraction. Never mind that no one — not the Labor Department, not the Treasury, not the Bureau of Labor Statistics — actually measures “jobs saved.” As the New York Times delicately reports, Mr. Obama’s jobs claims are “based on macroeconomic estimates, not an actual counting of jobs.” Nice work if you can get away with it.
And get away with it he has. However dubious it may be as an economic measure, as a political formula “save or create” allows the president to invoke numbers that convey an illusion of precision. Harvard economist and former Bush economic adviser Greg Mankiw calls it a “non-measurable metric.” And on his blog, he acknowledges the political attraction.
“The expression ‘create or save,’ which has been used regularly by the President and his economic team, is an act of political genius,” writes Mr. Mankiw. “You can measure how many jobs are created between two points in time. But there is no way to measure how many jobs are saved. Even if things get much, much worse, the President can say that there would have been 4 million fewer jobs without the stimulus.” (source WSJ)
What Mr. Obama does not yet understand is that people are beginning to come out of their Obama-kool-aid-induced-coma’s. The see that unemployment numbers continue to skyrocket and realize that the daily chant of “Blame on Bush” has lost it resonance.
Even the liberals are getting antsy. In the Nation John Nichols warns that Double-Digit Unemployment Poses Political Danger for Obama. He also warns that the unemployment numbers are actually higher than announced:
What happens when we include people who have stopped looking for work because they do not believe there are jobs to be found, along with part-time workers who would like to be working full-time?
Then, we start looking not at the unsettling 10 percent figure but the far more frightening 20 percent number.
As economist Howard Rosen told NPR after official unemployment topped 8 percent in February: “Today we learned that there are 12.5 million people who are unemployed, and we have another 8.6 million people who are working part-time because they cannot find full-time jobs. Now, you’re talking about 20 million people in this country who are either unemployed or underemployed. I don’t want to freak out people, but the unemployed number, we start talking about 15, 16 percent.”
Since February, of course, the official unemployment rate has spiked dramatically, as has the real rate.
February mmmmm, who became President in January? Based on that real unemployment rate, one out of every seven adults is out of work.
Nichols says that while Obama will try to blame Bush (he feels that is legitimate),
The problem, of course, is that the blame game gets harder when it becomes possible to link a sitting president’s actions to soaring unemployment figures.
He concludes by blaming not the President, but his advisers as if the President was totally left out of the equation:
The current “deciders” appear to be members of Obama’s economic team — led by the likes of Larry Summers, Tim Geithner and rest of the “public servants” formerly known as Wall Street insiders. Their bad calls, especially on the auto bailout, could give America a “jobless recovery” and a politically-vulnerable president.
When the GM/Chrysler plant and dealer closings work their way through the system, those real unemployment numbers could go from the mid-teens to over 20%. If that happens there will be no way for Obama to shift the blame. Maybe by that time our leaders will get some sense and give us a real stimulus; cut spending and lower taxes.