One of the determining factors in deciding the upcoming election is likely to be jobs and the perception of how President Barack Obama has done on that issue. It is that very reality which makes vitally important how each jobs report is perceived discussed. The April jobs report was awful by most reasonable economic standards, but it was not portrayed that way by the president and many of his allies.
President Obama has been using the downtick in unemployment from 8.2% to 8.1% and the addition of 115,000 jobs in April as evidence of a continuing recovery. This has frustrated conservatives because, even though the unemployment rate has technically been going down, the jobs situation is actually getting much worse.
Many economists have pointed out that job creation has been significantly less than is needed to constitute a decent recovery. In fact, the only reason for the decline in the unemployment rate is that an alarming number of Americans have just given up looking for work. Those millions of invisibly unemployed Americans do still matter and their struggles should be reflected in how we judge the current administration. If those capable Americans started looking for jobs again and the participation rate returned to what it was when President Obama entered office, the real current unemployment rate would be about 10.7%.
In addition, it is completely disingenuous for the president to take credit for the jobs that are added while deflecting blame for the weak numbers onto previous administrations, technology and the weather. Using the same logic, Republicans could make several important points regarding where the real credit for the job growth belongs.
- President Obama is taking credit for job creation that is mostly occurring in states where Republican executives are implementing policies that he opposes.
For example, the month of February is the last month for which numbers are available by state. February was one of the best months for job growth during the Obama presidency, with 227,000 jobs added to the economy. 161,600 or 71.2% of those jobs were created in areas with Republican chief executives.
Democrats and the Obama administration have been fairly outspoken in opposing many of the policies imposed by those same Republicans, including reducing tax burdens for businesses, lowering regulations and the passing of right to work legislation. A logical argument can be made that it is those policies that have contributed to the majority of recent job growth, even if that growth has fallen short of what is needed for a real recovery.
- Much of the job growth has occurred after this administration could no longer impose uncontested liberal policies at the federal level.
President Obama has gone out of his way to blame gridlock and the Republican Majority in the House of Representatives for a lack of congressional action on jobs. Even ignoring the reality that the Republican-led House has passed 28 job bills that are stalled in the Democrat-controlled Senate, most of the job growth that Obama takes credit for has occurred since that Republican majority came into power in January 2011.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Obama still has a net loss of about 600,000 jobs since coming into office in January of 2009. Since Republicans became the majority in the House of Representatives and began blocking the continuation of Obama’s anti-business and pro-government agenda in January of 2011, the economy has added about 2.5 million jobs. That signifies that the Obama record before that point was a loss of over 3.1 million jobs.
Once again, it can be inferred that the job growth is a direct result of the Republican Majority bringing confidence and stability to the private sector by ensuring that the Obama Administration will not be able to continue to impose anti-growth policies.
Not only are the current job numbers subpar, but there are several reasons to believe that the job growth that is occurring should not be credited to this president or his policies.
In a fair debate, the president cannot continue to take credit for, and distort the reality of, job growth while also lambasting the Republican policies that have been in place during and where that growth has occurred. That is not to say that Republicans can take credit for all of the growth either, or that the growth is nearly enough to put us on the right track, but the reality of the numbers above needs to be part of the conversation.
If Republicans can win the White House in November, we may finally see just what type of job growth would occur nationwide if we have a president promoting and not standing in the way of the private sector.