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Obama and the Jobless Numbers: 'Recovery Summer' is on Vacation

3 years ago
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If Air Force One offered frequent flier miles, President Obama would be a platinum member based on his domestic travel alone. For months, the president has crisscrossed the country to states where the economic meltdown has hit hardest -- pounding kringles in Racine, Wisc., donning a hard hat in Youngstown, Ohio, examining solar panels in Fremont, Calif. -- all part of a broader effort to show the country that not only is jobs creation Priority Number One for his White House, but that the stimulus program is working. They even work-shopped a theme for it, "Recovery Summer," and named Vice President Biden captain of the cheerleading squad, shaking his recovery pom poms for governors across the country. But for all the high-calorie treats consumed and assembly lines toured, despite all the conference calls and sis-boom-bahing, the economy just won't budge.
President Obama talks about economyJune's jobless numbers, released on Friday, showed an ever-so-slight drop in the unemployment rate, from 9.7 percent to 9.5 percent, a slip of silver lining the White House has pitched as evidence of being on the right track. Christina Rohmer, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, wrote on Friday, "June marks the sixth month in a row that private sector employment has increased. These continued signs of healing are important, particularly given the recent volatility in world markets and the mixed behavior of other recent economic indicators."

But, as the AP reported on Friday, the country still has 7.9 million fewer jobs than it did when the recession began, and an estimated 14.6 million Americans were looking for work in June. The president knows these figures do not a recovery make. In a news conference the same day, Obama said, "Make no mistake: We are headed in the right direction. But as I was reminded...earlier this week, we're not headed there fast enough for a lot of Americans. We're not headed there fast enough for me, either." The president also announced 66 new programs, helmed by the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce, to bring broadband service to underserved parts of the country. Expected jobs created: 5,000. (The mathematics were so limp, the gesture seemed almost endearing.)

But Obama knows well that no single program can or will be a panacea to heal the deep gash in the U.S. economy, and he ended his remarks with a semi-somber "Onwards, through the night"-like command that has increasingly become his coda in these tough times: "America has never backed down from a challenge. We've faced our share of tough times before. But in such moments, we don't flinch. We dig deeper, we innovate, we compete and we win. That's in our DNA. And it's going to be what brings us through these tough times towards a brighter day."

If the words of the commander in chief were meant to rally the dispirited foot soldiers of the American economy, the Republican opposition has characterized White House leadership as fueled by misguided policy that is taking the country down the path of defeat. In a report for House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, decried the president's policies, saying "for a real 'Recovery Summer,' Congress and the president need a different agenda -- lower taxes, lower spending, and less regulatory red tape."

This slow trudge toward recovery has given the GOP a platform to beat loudly the drum of reining in the deficit and ending a reliance on "big government spending" to heal the economy. On Wednesday, Senate Republicans filibustered a bill that would have extended unemployment benefits to millions of Americans. Though the legislation is expected to pass next month once a replacement for Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) is announced, as my colleague Jill Lawrence points out, the issue has brought to the fore the argument between those who would increase the deficit to save jobs and those who believe in paying up front.

Either way, the economy, along with the war in Afghanistan and the BP oil spill, has presented Obama with a trifecta of Miserable Stuff That's Going to Take a Long Time to Fix. Unfortunately for Team O, the rhetoric of "Dig your heels in, America" seems far from the spirited cry of "Yes We Can!" For a nation that desperately needs a shot in the arm, woe is the president who must remain the bearer of the bad news.

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35 Comments

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Rob & Kathy

cjjanis8:44 AM Jul 4, 2010
vote for what? The party that caused the mess? Or the party that is having a hard time cleaning it up?
************
Cleaning it up? Making it worse...

July 04 2010 at 8:46 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
compemail06

I cannot believe Republicans have the nerve to say anything when they where the one's who created all this mess and now what do you expect one man to wave his magic wand and fix all this crap?!! IT TOOK 8 YEARS TO GET WHERE WE ARE AT..IT WILL TAKE LONGER TO REALLY GET OUT.

July 04 2010 at 9:22 AM Report abuse -12 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to compemail06's comment
Michael

Um, for seven of those eight years, jobs were growing. Obama could not now accomplish that in two terms. How many rounds of golf has he played since he stated that he "would not rest" until the jobs recovery was solid?
This cowboy is all hat and no cattle.

July 04 2010 at 2:28 PM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply
jspe7

drwds does not have a clue about SS. He will certainly be getting more back than what he put in, just as most Americans will, just as there are so many , many Americans who depend on their SS checks and are not willing to give it up-----BECAUSE THEY NEED IT !
To all you gripers out there-----you know that you will gladly take your SS checks, you will be grateful that there is unemployment insurance for when you need it , that there is help with health insurance if you are sick and the insurance companies (those nice guys who refuse to pay when you get sick)
I am sure that none of you like the roads that are built by our government, and that you could do without the help you get from your state government, such as police, firemen , teachers,etc, etc
Yes and all this does cost money and we could do so much with the money that BUSH gave away for record tax breaks for the rich, and TRILLIONS for Iraq and bailout of Wall Street (the rich who screwed us)

July 03 2010 at 9:29 PM Report abuse -23 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jspe7's comment
Kenneth

Pick another fairy tale

July 03 2010 at 9:42 PM Report abuse +15 rate up rate down Reply
equustrnr

I keep hearing about how the republicans want to reign in the federal deficit, but what is their solution to help 15 million unemployed americans? Do they think that ignoring us will make us go away? They jump at the chance to send billions of dollars in aid to foreign countries who have experienced a natural disaster, but what about the millions of americans who have been savaged by the wall street disaster? We have families, why can't the republicans see that every day they deny assistance, our children suffer? How many more foreclosures, bankruptcies, and homelessness must we endure before the president and the republicans stop marginalizing us as an undeserving percentage of the US population, and take action to protect all american citizens in need. We've worked for years, and paid our taxes into a system that moved with lightning speed to save wall street. Now I know how the people of New Orleans felt as the federal government stood by as they suffered from lack of food, water and medical supplies. Now the federal government is standing by while 15 million americans suffer. Jesus said, "forgive them father, for they know not what they do". I believe our elected representatives know exactly what they are doing, and I will not turn the other cheek. I will not surrender my dignity.

July 03 2010 at 9:28 PM Report abuse -16 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to equustrnr's comment
pete

There is sooooo much far left talking points misinformation to address ..........were to start.

New Orleans. It is NOT the Federal Governments job to micro manage the disaster preparedness plans of any state. FEMA is responsible to stage assets in the theater to be available to state and local government should there ability to deal with the scope of the problem be overwhelmed. That is EXACTLY what FEMA did with Katrina.
State and local governments TOTALLY Mismanaged Katrina...waiting until the llast minute to call for a mandatory evacuation...sparking a "every man for himself panic to get out of NO. For gods sake the elderly were ABANDONED in their beds in nursing homes to DROWN. The state left TENS OF THOUSANDS behind in NO to fend for themselves. The Best NO Mayor Ray Nagen could do was leave the Super Dome unlocked??????
The FEMA response team is criticized for the several days of delay in delivering food water and medical supplies. During the DELAY FEMA is criticized for the FEMA assets deployed to deliver food, water and medical supplies spent those several days rescuing over 35,000 people ABANDONED by LA state and local government. Many of these people were literally baking to death in their attics or on their roofs in 90+ degree heat.
Rather than criticize the Democrat Gov of LA or the Mayor of NO the far left leaning media criticized Bush with sound bites of people waiting for food and water while FEMA was busy rescuing 35,000 Dems left to fend for themselves.

July 03 2010 at 10:58 PM Report abuse +13 rate up rate down Reply
scott

Obama has been on campaign for four years now. He will continue to lie about the job numbers as long as he is in office. Otherwise he would have to admit that the hundreds of billions spent on stimulus did not work and was nothing more than a UNION payoff.
Can't wait till he is a lame duck or impeached.

July 03 2010 at 9:12 PM Report abuse +24 rate up rate down Reply
Hammer Head

You forget to mention the almost 2 million workers who have given up looking for work. A large number of the jobs were census jobs that contributed to the falsely inflated numbers. Promises, promises, I sure am glad I didn't vote for Barry.

July 03 2010 at 7:28 PM Report abuse +27 rate up rate down Reply
bildaws

This economy will get better under Obama when pig's fly.

July 03 2010 at 7:12 PM Report abuse +26 rate up rate down Reply
bob

Most of what this president and HIS congress have done, will have to be undone, or redone. THAT will be his legacy.

July 03 2010 at 3:04 PM Report abuse +41 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to bob's comment
andrc657

President Obama has accomplished more in 18 months than many Presidents do in 4 years. He continues to do an excellent job.

July 03 2010 at 4:43 PM Report abuse -40 rate up rate down Reply
sysaphus71

BOB,
YOU ARE EXACTLY RIGHT!!!
And as each and every law or policy gets undone and negated you will watch employment start to rise.
The American business community is only waiting for a stable environment to predict cost so they can start to hire the people they desperately need to hire.
That is what makes this so maddening....It is in fact Obama that is holding up hirings because he is so business unfriendly and many are becoming wise to the fact.
If we can hold on until this amateur is shown the door ,,then the pent up demand will rocket us out of this soon to be double dip recession.

July 04 2010 at 12:45 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
sysaphus71

I think it is like a b grade movie "THE STALLED RECOVERY SUMMER" or
maybe the "Endless Summer with No Recovery"
And the scene would be Obama surfing off into the sunset past miles of boarded up closed beach front businesses.

July 03 2010 at 2:19 PM Report abuse +36 rate up rate down Reply
alfredjsenior

How do you fill a pool of water by stopping water flowing into the pool from the natural weather cycle, severely interrupting the natural water cycle and then simply taking the remaining water from one end of the pool with a large bucket, spilling a great deal on the way to the other end of the pool, dumping that removed water in another area of the pool and then announcing that you are raising the level of the pool if everyone will just give your method time to work.

That's the economic method that has led to the ruination of every totalitarian managed, socialist based economy since an embittered Marx formulated his social and economic theories in some isolated, dank and dusty British library a couple of hundred years ago.

What a joke! Time for that sort of nuts thinking to end, before even more folks die of thirst or for criticizing the water regulators while waiting for the pool to be filled up by government folk.

July 03 2010 at 12:56 PM Report abuse +36 rate up rate down Reply

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