Last week I noted that Mitt Romney — insipid, empathy-free, and a congenital liar — was a gift from the gods to the Barack Obama re-election campaign. But even the gift of Mittens won’t help Obama if he continues to campaign as if that alone will get him re-elected.
Put another way, if autumn rolls around with the unemployment numbers — the real numbers — as bad as they are now, and with Obama continuing to passively allow the Republicans to blame him for this, he’ll lose.
Here’s Robert Reich on the latest misleading jobless estimates — 8.1, my ass! — reported by the mainstream media:
Friday’s jobs report for April was even more disappointing than March. Employers added only 115,000 new jobs, down from March’s number (the Bureau of Labor Statistics revised the March number upward to 154,000, but that’s still abysmal relative to what’s needed). We need well over 250,000 new jobs per month in order to begin to whittle down the vast number of jobs lost in the Great Recession. At least 125,000 new jobs are necessary each month just to keep up with an expanding population of working-age people…
Most observers pay attention to the official rate of unemployment, which edged down to 8.1 percent in April from 8.2 percent in March. That may sound like progress, but it’s not. The unemployment rate dropped because more people dropped out of the labor force, too discouraged to look for work. The household survey, from which the rate is calculated, counts as “unemployed” only people who are actively looking for work. If you stop looking because the job scene looks hopeless for you, you’re no longer counted…
Most of the job gains in April were in lower-wage industries – retail stores, restaurants, and temporary-help. That means average wages continue to drop, adjusted for inflation – continuing their long-term decline. Most of the new jobs that have been added to the U.S. economy during this recovery have paid less than the jobs that were lost during the downturn…
Voters might forgive Obama for screwing up most of his first term — i.e., for focusing on bank bailouts and faulty health care initiatives at the expense of jobs programs. But at this point he should be on the road as often as possible, in the home districts of corrupt Republican stooges, exhorting them to quit pretending billionaires are job creators, reminding voters that cutting public-sector jobs and shredding the social safety net can only make the situation worse.
Instead, Obama is mildly reproaching the GOP for blocking jobs. He’s staging publicity stunts such as his secret trip to Afghanistan last week, during which he implicitly bragged about his role in the slaying of Osama bin Laden.
What a dope. Most voters want a president who seems fully engaged in helping the middle-class and poor get out of the ditch dug for them by Wall Street and advocates of globalization. They don’t want a Dem who reminds them of that jackass who strutted across an aircraft carrier, trying to look manly. Not this year.
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