The Obama campaign, in a frenzy of spin, is trying to persuade us that recent employment statistics signal economic improvement for which we should thank President Obama by renewing for four more years his project to “transform America” by expanding the power and dominance of government in our lives. At a campaign event following release of the monthly jobs report Obama bellowed a now tediously familiar talking point:
Our businesses have now created more than 4.2 million new jobs over the last 26 months — more than 1 million jobs in the last six months alone!
If you’re not in the habit of studying Labor Dept. statistics this might seem like a lot of jobs. But is it? This chart provides what the Obama campaign and the media do not: context.
As the chart shows the current recovery in private sector jobs is the weakest since 1950. The strongest was the recovery of the 1980s when the government response was the opposite of Obama’s, reduced government regulation and lower taxes.
Note that the President seeks to focus your attention on private sector jobs instead of the usual statistic, all jobs, including public and private. He still thinks government is more important than the private sector but his stimulus, which was sold in part as insurance against layoffs at the state and local level has failed. State and local governments have shed a half million employees over the past 26 months.
Not only is the current recovery the weakest in six decades it has come at a steep cost. We’re living through and will eventually suffer the consequences of the largest deficits and fastest growing debt in American history. After adjusting for inflation, the deficits of 2009-10-11 are twice the size of the annual deficits during World War II.
In the first week of his Administration in 2009 Obama’s economic team published a report with predictions of very specific outcomes from his so-called stimulus spending surge. There were several predictions regarding jobs, none of which has come true. This chart compares their core jobs prediction, upon which all the others were based, with reality. In January of 2009 these economists told us that if no stimulus were enacted there would be 133.9 million jobs at the end of 2010. Or, if Congress passed the stimulus there would be 137.6 million jobs. At the time this was presented as verified wisdom. We could simply choose to have 4 million more jobs by enacting a stimulus.
As the second chart shows 2010 and 2011 came and went and we’re still 4.5 million jobs short of these predictions. But the money has been spent, the debt is owed, interest must be paid.
The take-away should be the same lesson Americans have had to learn the hard way, over and over since the 1920s. Ordinary men and women do not acquire super-natural powers by winning an election or being hired to make “policy” for the President. Yet the political-media establishment will always present the economic predictions and projections of these ordinary men and women as if they were indisputable truth.