The Real Unemployment Story

via: Patriot Post

“Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread.” –Thomas Jefferson

According to the latest Department of Labor statistics, December unemployment fell to 9.4 percent, down from November’s 9.8 percent. At first glance this seems to be a sign that the job outlook is improving, but, as we have noted before, looks are deceiving. While the White House and its lackeys tout the 0.4-point drop in unemployment as a policy victory for the “stimulus,” discerning taxpayers will question whether a paltry 0.4 percent drop in reported unemployment is really worth the trillion dollars we spent to achieve it.

As Investor’s Business Daily reports, “The only reason the rate dropped was that 260,000 Americans stopped looking for work entirely in December.” In other words, add those who are no longer job hunting to those who have part-time jobs but want full-time work, and the real total unemployment rate leaps to 16.7 percent. Additionally, for the third consecutive month, the average length of unemployment increased, hitting 34.2 weeks. The bad news doesn’t end there. IBD also notes, “[T]his is the 20th month in a row that the unemployment rate has hovered above 9%, a post-World War II record.”

Testifying before a Senate committee last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said, “At this rate of improvement, it could take four to five more years for the job market to normalize fully.” Yet even that estimate assumes pie-in-the-sky monthly job growth of 250,000. Bernanke went on to assert that the labor landscape has “improved only modestly at best.” You don’t say.

The extension of the Bush tax rates was a good start, but because they’re not permanent, growth will be slower than it otherwise could be. Massively cutting government spending is the next thing that will ultimately help our ailing economy.

Leading the resistance against that remedy is, not surprisingly, failed 2004 presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). He warned Republicans this week against cutting government to the point that it can’t help the U.S. economy. And what a “help” it’s been so far!

“Do [Republicans] want a government too limited to have invented the Internet, now a vital part of our commerce and communications?” he asked. Do they want a “government too small to give America’s auto industry and all its workers a second chance to fight for their survival? Taxes too low to invest in the research that creates jobs and industries and fills the Treasury with the revenue that educates our children, cures disease and defends our country?” He forgot to mention the “moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal,” all thanks to the election of Barack Obama.

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