President Obama's promise of better days to come rings hollow
Via-Editorial New York Dail News
The morning after President Obama appealed to America to just hang in there with him because an economic revival was on the way, reality reared its ugly head.
The monthly report from the Labor Department showed that the U.S. gained 96,000 jobs in August, about half of what’s needed just to keep pace with population growth. The long stall gets longer, with nary a sign of hope.
The unemployment rate notched its 43rd month above 8%, and there was pessimism even in its fall from 8.3% to 8.1%. That slight decline was mainly the result of people giving up on the search for work as hopeless.
Obama’s campaign quickly updated its calculations to note that, with August’s figures, the country has gained 4.6 million jobs over the last 30 months. But, cheery presentation notwithstanding, this is anything but encouraging.
With 13 million people out of work, the country is growing jobs at barely a crawl, and the rate has been slowing. In January, the economy added a more healthy 275,000 positions, almost triple the latest number.
In the deepest doldrums are the construction and manufacturing sectors, usually considered sources of solid employment for workers who may not have advanced degrees.
Labor force participation — the percentage of the population over 16 that’s working — fell yet again, to a 31-year low of 63.7%.
For men, the number is at its lowest level ever measured (since 1948, when the government started tracking): 69.8%. Tragic.
In this context, “hope” is little more than a hollow buzzword.
Mitt Romney’s entire electoral rationale — as the man who can right the ship, bring back small and large business confidence and lubricate the hiring gears — has just been strengthened.
And the likelihood that Obama will continue to run on a strategy of activating the Democratic base on social issues and fearmongering, rather than offering constructive economic solutions, just rose as well.
As for action from Washington, forget about it at least through the November election and likely well beyond.
The gridlock in the face of hardship is a disgrace — all the more so because Obama and congressional Republicans agreed to a reckless game of chicken that has discouraged companies from hiring and investing.
To escape a stalemate and boost the chances of a long-term budgetary agreement, Obama and the GOP set a so-called fiscal cliff at year’s end. Without action, taxes will soar and spending will be slashed. Businesses are terrified by the prospect of a looming disaster, and so they have put off investing in people.
Obama asks for patience.
Come Election Day, he may well discover that it ran out as one American after another gave up on listening to speeches.