President North Star

The President, Zaphod Beeblebrox, er, Barack Obama, in his weekly remarks (not his weekly Q&A

Where'd I put my sequester towel?

Where’d I put my sequester towel?

in front of actual reporters, which can be terribly disconcerting, so the Q&A doesn’t actually occur), highlights the wonders of the economy having added 95,000 new jobs last month.  (Funny, the news reports it as 88,000, but what’s 7,000 jobs amongst friends?)

Now, yesterday, we learned that our businesses created 95,000 new jobs last month.  That’s about 500,000 new jobs this year, and nearly 6.5 million new jobs over the past three years.

That all sounds simply smashing, doesn’t it?  With all this great job news, I wonder why the president needs to worry about anything?  In fact, he also said earlier in his address:

Our top priority as a nation, and my top priority as President, must be doing everything we can to reignite the engine of America’s growth: a rising, thriving middle class.  That’s our North Star.  That must drive every decision we make.

So 95,000 new jobs isn’t a re-ignition of the American growth engine?  I’m confused.  Should I be happy, or sad, Mr. President?  Oh, and since it’s now your fifth year in office, are you just now discovering what your North Star should be?  Was it hidden behind clouds?  Hidden, perhaps, behind the flag pole on the 18th green when you were shooting a casual round of golf with Tiger Woods?

As has long been known, we need at least 350,000 new jobs to be added to get to a 5% unemployment rate, widely considered to be a more normal rate of unemployment.  Note that three

To hear the lamentation of de verkers.

I long to hear the lamentations of de verkers.

years of adding 350,000 jobs per month comes out to 12,600,000 jobs, or about 200% of what Barry’s now sadly touting as some kind of accomplishment.

But President Obama’s comments come after yet another (unexpectedly) bad jobs report, and an unemployment rate that went down, despite adding 88,000 jobs.

Why did the unemployment rate drop?  663,000 people left the workforce, meaning they are no longer counted in the official unemployment number.  A whopping 88,000 jobs were added, but 7 times that number left the workforce.  So the unemployment rate drops, but because these other numbers aren’t talked about that loudly, meaning Jay Carney’s not going to talk about them, the public spin is that the economy is improving.  In fact, the White House will take it one step further:  The sequester is helping to cause unemployment, a sequester described as a “Republican sequester” when it has always been Obama’s sequester, one he specifically asked for during the budget deal of 2011.

From the Breitbart article (highlights are mine):

Kathy Bostjancic, Director of Macroeconomic Analysis for The Conference Board business research group, says the major flaw in Obama’s argument is that the sequester has not kicked in yet.

“What is even more troubling about the most recent slowdown is that it takes place even before the sequester cuts materially hit the economy,” Bostjancic stated in a press release. “This reinforces our view that the estimated 3.5 percent real GDP growth in Q1 is not likely to be sustained. Instead, we see the overall economy, led by the consumer, downshifting significantly in the second quarter, struggling to get close to 1 percent real growth.”

The need to curb Washington’s spending will have an effect on jobs, says Bostjancich, but they will likely be centered around “further contraction in government sector jobs.”

Indeed, the unemployment rate for government workers is less than half (3.6%) the national unemployment rate. Since July, the government has added 618,000 government workers to its payrolls, employing 20,633,000 individuals.

In other words, last year the gov’t hired (roughly) as many workers as the number of people who dropped out of the workforce last month.  Apparently the workers who dropped out couldn’t land one of the sequester-proof gigs the government created in the 2nd half of 2012.  To put this in even better perspective, the USG hired the equivalent of the entire population of the state of Vermont, since July of last year.  Apparently our government is just swimming in cash.  I didn’t know there was such a critical need for more government employees that the USG is hiring a state’s worth of workers to carry the enormous burden of doling out taxes back to the 57 states as long as they continue to do exactly what the federal government tells them to do – or else.

And yet, to send the self-aggrandizing parade off on a sour note:  President North Star is going to

Oh, so THAT'S where it's been hiding for 4 years!

Oh, so THAT’S where it’s been hiding for 4 years!

return 5% of his paycheck!  Isn’t that wonderful of him, to show solidarity with the 20,600,000 federal employees who might also have to take a slight pay hit?

But wait:  Note that Barry’s pay does not cover his rent, his car, his groceries, his vacations, his retirement package – Barry’s actual income pays for none of his expenses.  So for him to take a 5% cut as “solidarity” has about as much direct impact on him financially as it would for the average American to skip an extra taco at dinner.   This might be laughable, if it weren’t also so transparently cynical, and easy to do.

Oh, and let me just add this:  What kind of cut is the President going to take for the troubles of the rest of the country?  How about a percentage reduction in his post-presidential retirement funds that match the monthly unemployment numbers?  Then you’d see a President North Star actually doing something to create jobs, not destroy them, and then laughably claim otherwise.


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