On Friday, February 13, 2009, the Democrat controlled Congress passed the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the “stimulus bill.” No filibuster, just passage. The Congressional Budget Office said that the cost was going to be $821 billion. Under a procedural deal between the parties (not a Republican filibuster), the bill needed 60 votes to pass. The vote in the Senate was 60 – 38. The House vote was 246 – 183. “The president made clear when we started this process that this was about jobs,” said John Boehner (R-OH) after the vote. “Jobs. Jobs. Jobs.”
In fact, the act had three immediate goals:
- Create new jobs and save existing ones
- Spur economic activity and invest in long-term growth
- Foster unprecedented levels of accountability and transparency in government spending
We’ll leave goals 2 and 3 and their attainment for other posts. Let’s focus our attention on the first goal: jobs.
Three years after the passage of ARRA/stimulus, we find that the unemployment rate set a new record, staying above 8% for three years, the longest period since the end of World War II. The U-3 “official” unemployment rate, currently 8.3%, is exactly where it was when Obama signed the ARRA. Let’s see… three years after the passage of ARRA, … unemployment staying above 8% for three years. Coincidence? You decide.
We can now turn our attention to the unemployment rate that the MSM breathlessly reports and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) massages.
The BLS publishes Table A-15 each month with a variety of unemployment figures. The unemployment rate for January, 2012 of 8.3%, was U-3 seasonally adjusted. How was that rate achieved? Well, in January the BLS actually reduced the size of the labor force by 1.2 million people, yielding a labor force size that is the smallest in 30 years. (See the two graphs provided) Smaller labor force = lower unemployment rate. But those 1.2 million people are STILL unemployed! From Table A-15, we get this: “U-3 Total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force.” So by dropping the size of the labor force, the number of unemployed is compared to a smaller universe, therefore the unemployment rate drops.
If the BLS used the labor force size that existed when Obama was inaugurated, the U-3 unemployment rate would be above 9%. He can’t get reelected with that figure, so the BLS had to go to work and get the rate down.
But why the U-3 rate? Why not the U-6 rate? The U-6 rate accounts for people who have stopped looking for work or who can’t find full-time jobs. The (U-3) 8.3% unemployment rate is calculated based on people who are without jobs, who are available to work, and who have actively sought work in the prior four weeks. The key phrase is “who are available to work,” and it is that figure that the BLS keeps dropping.
The short and simple answer is that Obama can’t get reelected on the U-6 rate, so the MSM ignores it in favor of the U-3 rate.
And what can we expect in February, 2012? While the future can only be predicted, it doesn’t look to good. Gallup, the polling company, says that the mid-February unemployment rate is 9.0%. Is the unemployment record going to be continued?
Glenn Kessler, fact checker for the Washington Post (not an anti-Obama source) said, “Unless the economy turns around in the next 18 months, Obama is on track to have the worst jobs record of any president in the modern era.” While he did inherit an economic mess, he has had three years, got the stimulus passed, and still unemployment remains high.
Former Secretary of Labor in the George W. Bush administration Elaine Chao said of the current employment situation, “Taxes are too high, there are too many regulations and we’re spending beyond our means. That is putting a dampening effect on job creation.” The following is said with as much sarcasm as I can muster. But what does she know? Anything she says can be ignored since she served under a Republican. And the source cited, because it is conservative, can also be ignored. Sarcasm off. But damned if unemployment figures don’t bear her out.
So much for attaining the first goal. It is a pity that most of the sheeple in this country look to the MSM for propaganda disguised as information, but that’s what our current public education produces. Feeling good is more important than actually thinking.
Henry Morganthau, Treasury Secretary under FDR, said, “We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. … After eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started … and an enormous debt to boot!” Isn’t it amazing how history tends to repeat itself, and how liberals and the MSM cannot/will not learn from history. Now we have a $787 billion (or $821 billion) debt and the unemployment rate has been above 8% for three years. Why was the stimulus passed?
But that’s just my opinion.