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.