Susan Stamper Brown: 7.8 percent unemployment is nothing to brag about
If the federal government was meant to create jobs, it would have created a surplus of them by now, and unemployment would be far below 7.8 percent — considering the exorbitant amount of money the Obama administration has, as it says, “invested” to do so.
According to the Weekly Standard, in July 2011, a report by the administration’s Council of Economic Advisors found Obama’s method of job creation via economic stimulus was relatively ineffective and quite expensive, costing taxpayers, their children, and grandchildren $278,000 per job created.
More than three years ago, a fresh-faced and hope-filled President Obama said our ailing U.S. economy could be fixed if taxpayers would allow him to spend what is now more than $800 billion in “stimulus” funds, promising this “investment” would create a ginormous amount of shovel-ready jobs and reduce unemployment to or below 5.6 percent. Three years later, even President Obama admitted the jobs were “not as shovel-ready as we expected.”
As good as all that sounded to the unassuming ear, the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report, on Oct. 5, showing 7.8 percent unemployment pretty much proves, as well-intended as it is, the federal government cannot replace human ingenuity and hard work to create jobs.
The White House would like us to believe the slight drop to less than 8 percent unemployment is proof positive the economy is headed in the right direction, and all this administration needs is four more years of economic experimentation to get it right.
The slight decline in unemployment is nothing to brag about if this is all the administration has to show for after four years of effort.
The BLS reported that, in September, 12.1 million people were unemployed, 6.5 million people lost their jobs, an additional 2.5 million were unemployed for less than five weeks, 4.8 million had been unemployed 27 weeks or more and 2.5 million were “marginally attached” (unemployed and not seeking employment in September).
Approximately 600,000 joined the ranks of “involuntary part-time workers” because their hours were cut back or they could not find full-time work and accepted part-time work — raising the number of involuntary part-time workers to 8.6 million people.
Moreover, a study performed by the National Employment Law Project found that although more than half of the jobs lost from first quarter of 2008 through first quarter of 2010 were “mid-wage occupations,” most of the jobs created by the Obama administration from first quarter of 2010 through first quarter of 2012 were “lower-wage” jobs.
The bad news for the middle class, and especially single-wage households, is that during the recession, 21 percent of jobs lost were lower-wage, yet a breathtaking 58 percent of new jobs created by Obama were lower-wage.
Additionally, while 60 percent of mid-wage jobs were lost during the recession, only 22 percent of them were recovered. It is no surprise the amount of food stamp recipients has skyrocketed under this administration. The sad thing is, we can’t honestly say the tab for all this so-called “recovery” spending is being funded by taxpayer dollars anymore, but also Chinese yen.
Borrowing money to create jobs is unsustainable long-term. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s Aug. 22 report projects 2013 will be worse than 2012, leading to “economic conditions in 2013 that will probably be considered a recession” with unemployment rising to around nine percent in late 2013.
The same report predicts that if “many current policies are continued” the “debt held by the public would climb to 90 percent of GDP by 2022 — higher than at any time since shortly after World War II,” and would eventually “lead to a level of federal debt that would be unsustainable from both a budgetary and an economic perspective.”
Susan Stamper Brown writes about politics, the military, the economy and culture. Email her at @susanstamperbrown.com.