Sunday, August 12, 2012

The New American Dream: A Job

Former Obama supporter Mort Zuckerman cuts through the fog of campaign rhetoric to take a cold, hard look at America’s economy today.

The title of his article says it all: “Under Obama, the New American Dream Is a Job.”

Zuckerman draws it out:

What we have been living through is a breakdown of the great American jobs machine. Jobs have long been the best social program, the best economic program, and the best family program in America. No longer. The jobs are not there. Unemployment today is the worst since the Great Depression.

The headline unemployment number focused on by the media is 8.2 percent, but that's not the real number. If you add to the headline number the "discouraged workers" not currently looking for a job, and others "marginally attached" to the labor force, the unemployment rate would be almost 10 percent. And if you add involuntary part-time workers to the headline number, the real unemployment rate would be 14.9 percent. Fifty percent of the jobs created since the recession have been part time, which generally means that these workers receive no benefits and that their pay is inadequate to enter the middle class.

By his lights the situation is not only bad; for those currently unemployed it is going to get worse:

The future of the unemployed is dubious, for when economic activity picks up, employers will undoubtedly first choose to increase hours for existing workers. Many unemployed workers looking for jobs once the recovery really begins will discover that jobs as good as the ones they lost are almost impossible to find.

On top of that, the business community has been alienated since the Obama administration abandoned early efforts to build confidence and rally the national will. It engaged, instead, in demeaning the private sector. America typically boos the losers, but this has become an administration that boos the winners.

Recovery will not necessarily solve the problems:

The recession has shown employers that they can make do with fewer workers. Over 20 percent of companies say that employment in their firms will never return to pre-recession levels. Just as serious is that most of the newly available jobs don't match the pay, the hours, or the benefits of the millions of positions that vanished during the recession.

Coming from a Democrat this indictment of the Obama economic policies is extraordinarily negative.

In the midst of an election campaign, when every piece of information is being spun, it is good to have someone who is willing to tell it like it is. It will help us to focus on the real issues. 


JP said...

Obama's problem is that he continued to bail out the people who originated the fraudulent debt *and* he attacked the productive people by telling them that "you didn't build that".

I still think that he's going to win, if only because the economy is in a vague recovery and he's currently president.

I think he will take the electoral college, but I think he loses seats in the house and senate.

n.n said...

The New American Dream: Instant Gratification, preferably without perceived consequences. This is the selling point of Democrat policies. If Republicans want to counter the fantasy, then they need to focus on economic development in America. They need to recharacterize both contributory and non-contributory entitlements to be supplementary and temporary, respectively. They need to end government programs which discriminate against individuals based on their race, gender, etc. They need to replace "free" trade with equitable trade. They need to curtail legal immigration and end illegal immigration. Americans need to know that their dreams of instant gratification (i.e. physical, material, ego) have consequences. In short, they need to end the illusion of a viable society without an investment and mitigate progressive corruption. It is each person's right to live in the moment, but it insane to normalize that mentality.

n.n said...


He promises everything to everyone. How can he possibly lose? Instead of explicitly raising taxes, he runs multi-trillion dollar deficits. Instead of addressing causes, he treats symptoms, allowing the causes to metastasize. It's a profitable racket and he knows it. Others of like-mind, opportunists, and the vulnerable will vote for his policies. They will elect to exchange liberty for submission with benefits.

Sam L. said...

"I still think that he's going to win, if only because the economy is in a vague recovery and he's currently president."

JP, this is the third annual "Summer of Recovery Tour", subtitled "Take the Bus Home, Barry", or, "Where's The Audience??"

David Foster said...

"Over 20 percent of companies say that employment in their firms will never return to pre-recession levels."

I wouldn't place too much credence on this sort of comment. It's one thing to say "we don't need all those people" in the middle of a recession; it's another world entirely when things are booming and your Division General Managers are speaking vehemently at you about all the opportunities that are going to be blown, and all the share they are going to lose to competitors, if they're not allowed to hire those additional 100 engineers or 300 salespeople.