Friday, June 03, 2011

Obama Dances Around Dismal Economic Reports

The economic numbers have been dismal, to say the least, this week and what is the message from President Obama and the Democrats? Spend more. Yes, the very definition of insanity - keep doing what you are doing though what you are doing is failing - that is what the President wants to do.

President Obama traveled to Ohio (swing state) to tout the so-called success of the auto industry bail-out at a Chrysler plant. There he tried to make the case for more spending on infrastructure.

He's in re-election campaign mode and he sure does want to count on Ohio. The numbers Friday he was trying to spin went something like this:

The May employment report: Expected 150,000 jobs & 8.9% unemployment rate.
Actual 54,000 jobs created & 9.1% unemployment rate.

Non farm payrolls are at the weakest levels since September 2010.

The March and April jobs reports were revised down by 39,000.

Is all of this winning the future?

Democrats responded by stating it's just a bump in the road. Republicans responded by saying we must change course on the economic decisions being made in Washington. Both sides continue to talk past each other.

The fact is, this is the recovery that President Obama is quite comfortable with, as he continues to say. He tells us we are chugging right along. Then he says taxes must go up and spending must continue. The man simply has a very different way of looking at economics than Republicans. He believes in big government solutions and shows contempt for business - especially successful business.

The Democrats are fond of spouting off that up to 2 million jobs have been created since Obama took office. The Labor Department, however, concludes that there is a 2 1/2 million net loss of jobs. And, the Labor Department got out in front of the standard finger pointing from Democrats that it was bad weather and other unusual circumstances that moved the employment numbers the wrong way - they deny that as a factor.

The back and forth between the two parties in Washington has continued all week, as various reports have been presented.

The weak jobs numbers prompted a spate of press conferences and press releases in Washington. The Republicans blamed excessive federal spending, lack of progress on reforming entitlements, and the high federal debt levels.

“Instead of more stimulus, more debt, more regulations, and yes, more taxes, the President needs to take a cue from the Reagan recovery and get Washington out of the way of our job creators," said Rep. Kevin Brady (R) of Texas, the top Republican on the Joint Economic Committee, in an announcement.

At the same time, Austan Goolsbee, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, called the numbers a bump in the road, noting it’s important not to read too much into one monthly report. “The overall trajectory of the economy has improved dramatically over the past two years,” he said in a statement.

The stock market isn't lovin' it, either.

U.S. stocks extended a fifth straight weekly drop, the longest slump for the Dow Jones Industrial Average since 2004, as slower-than-estimated growth in jobs fueled concern that earnings forecasts are too optimistic.

So, the President flew off to Ohio to act as though everything is going as planned, just maybe a little slower than he'd like.

The president is often very selective in his citation of figures, accentuating the positive wherever possible.

President Obama’s comments today made no specific mention of the disappointing jobs report or the fact that the unemployment rate ticked upward.

Instead the president focused on signs of life in the auto industry, while saying: “I don’t want to pretend like everything is solved. We’ve still got a long way to go not just in this industry, but in our economy; for all our friends, all our neighbors who are still feeling the sting of recession. …Even though the economy is growing, even though it’s created more than 2 million jobs over the past 15 months, we still face some tough times. We still face some challenges.”

While House officials claimed that there was no change in the president’s general message. And it’s true that the president generally has the same talking points about how things are getting better though we’re not out of the woods yet, and there are ups and downs.

But when the jobs numbers are good, the president likes to acknowledge them, and tell people the number.

The numbers this week just haven't been so convenient for the President's stump speeches.

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