published Saturday, July 7th, 2012

Job reports vs. politics

The Labor Department's monthly job reports aren't just the dry, abstract snapshots on employment trends they used to be. In the heat of a quickening presidential campaign, they've become the crucial stuff of flash-point politics.

Never mind, for example, that the latest job growth showed the economy added another 80,000 jobs last month, continuing a job-growth trend that has been positive every month under President Obama for over two years. Or that Obama's policies are successfully enduring the steep climb out of the deep hole of the Great Recession that he inherited. Mitt Romney can be expected to scorn steady job growth as inadequate, and to claim, as he did Friday, that he could do better. With unemployment levels hovering at 8.2 percent, his supporters, and some independent voters, will be inclined to buy his debatable claim.

In fact, larger events outside Washington's control are more central to the economic tepidness of the past several months. Slowing economies in China and emerging markets, and the broadening recession and sovereign debt crises in Europe's 17-country euro zone are the chief factors.

The euro-zone countries, in particular, and the 27-member European Union in general, form America's largest trading and investment bloc. When EU demand for American exports weakens, as it has this year, the consequences in American manufacturing and service industries are inescapable. Europe's slowdown -- nearly half of the euro-zone countries are in official recession -- has also weakened the euro against the dollar, further eroding American businesses' edge and dampening stock markets.

Republicans' lockstep opposition the past several years to Obama's attempts to strengthen the nation's economy has deliberately shot the economy in the foot, as well. Obama has proposed corporate tax breaks for hiring and investments, as well as stimulative infrastructure investments. But as much as Republican leaders talk about how they would juice a slow economy, they've acted to keep the economy weak as a means of defeating Obama. They've rejected bills built around their own customary prescriptions, and they egregiously manufactured a long-running debt-ceiling controversy last year that further harmed the economy.

But while the U.S. economy may be slower than it was earlier this year, when job gains ranged upwards of 200,000 a month, it continues to be resilient. Among the encouraging indices in Friday's report were slight upticks in the average hourly earnings and slightly longer average workweeks for American workers. Those marginal gains suggest employers are seeking more intensive production from existing workers to meet demand, rather than hiring. And though corporate profits in the first quarter of the year declined for the first time since 2008, all of the drop occurred in weakening foreign markets, and not in the U.S.

President Obama remains clear-eyed about the priority of economic growth and the long-term trends that challenge Americans' economic well-being and employers' reluctance to hire. As he told crowds in Ohio Thursday, he has pushed more than worker training, education, tax incentives, reversing off-shoring of jobs, and infrastructure improvements. Over Republican opposition, he also rammed through emergency loans to revive America's auto industry. That successful effort to keep vital U.S. industries alive has generated some 233,000 auto sector jobs.

Romney famously shunned that option and criticized Obama's lifeline effort to save American auto makers. That, along with his history as a job-destroying corporate raider, suggests Romney's dedication to American workers and jobs is weaker than his campaign rhetoric. Obama's steady hand and concern for ordinary American workers is clearly preferable.

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Easy123 said...

JonRoss,

"If GM had filed bankruptcy most of those jobs would not have been "lost" and Obama would not now currently be in personal control of the enterprise. It's fascism folks."

Prove it.

July 7, 2012 at 6:43 p.m.
timbo said...

Austin and his kind don't care who pays for this stuff. They just want. Like little children they think that the money fairy makes it appear magically.

If GM can't stand on it's on 2 feet then it deserves to go down. How many jobs and small businesses could have been saved it the government put $50 billion dollars for them to come back. That didn't happen the government said tough luck and they were ruined.

The point is that small business or businesses like GM don't deserve to be saved by the government. That is our money and should only be used for vital services.

It always amazes me just how ignorant people on the left like Harry Austin and Easy 123 are about how things really work.

Easy123... we can prove one thing, that the other businesses I mentioned were just ignored to save union jobs. This is just politics as usual. This is to get union votes and money period.

July 7, 2012 at 7:31 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Timbo,

Then don't complain about unemployment.

You can't have it both ways.

July 7, 2012 at 8 p.m.
Easy123 said...

JonRoss,

You will be given no breaks.

Once again, prove it.

July 7, 2012 at 9:54 p.m.
Easy123 said...

JonRoss,

Oh, your fabricated scenario tells the whole story! LOL!

You have provided nothing of substance. NOTHING! You made up a scenario and acted as if that proved your claim that most of the jobs wouldn't have been lost. Your claim goes against logic.

If GM goes bankrupt, plants would shut down and people would get laid off. Where would they work? Another large car manufacturer? Oh wait, no jobs for all those people there either!

Please, crawl out from under your rock.

July 7, 2012 at 10:08 p.m.
Easy123 said...

AMC didn't go out of business. It was sold to Chrysler because Renault was having financial problems in France.

I guess you're assuming GM would have been sold to some other motor company? Wishful thinking.

You have STILL proved nothing. We aren't making pancakes. These other motor companies don't have the room or need for all these new employees. Look at the economy. Millions would have been out of a job. Is Ford looking for a few million new workers? NO!

July 7, 2012 at 11:22 p.m.
bookworm said...

Lighten up feathermerchants: You'all are programed chock full of Fox News talking points. You think Rupert Murdoch and Roger ailes give a flip about you. They are just peddling hate and laughing all the way to the bank. You are digging yourself a deep hole. You think Dems will cooperate with Romney if he wins? We Dems will remember how bad you treated Obama. Duh. . . .

July 8, 2012 at 3:53 a.m.
Easy123 said...

JonRoss,

Still haven't proved anything.

July 8, 2012 at 10:34 a.m.
fairmon said...

Easy123 and John Ross...Bankruptcy protects a business from creditors while the company is reorganized and the debts restructured. The share holders and bond hoders would have taken a bath and a bankruptcy judge would have made the decisions which means the union would have had less protection.

GM will pay no taxes for years with their losses carried over from the old company. Within 5 years they will be right back in the same trouble. They are still over obligated, union controlled and poorly managed.

July 8, 2012 at 2:08 p.m.
fairmon said...

You can't take issue with Obama saying 80,000 added jobs is a step in the right direction. It is a step in the right direction albeit a baby step when giant steps are needed. Neither party is offering a specific plan to increase decent paying jobs at the necessary rate.

July 8, 2012 at 2:20 p.m.
fairmon said...

Why do the greenies not attack clear cutting and vegetation destruction for construction and road projects? Osmosis is critical to carbon dioxide removal. The reduction in forestry around the world is a major climate impact issue. The rain forest is being destroyed.

July 8, 2012 at 2:23 p.m.
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