Blaise Pascal, Pense√© 347: “Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature; but he is a thinking reed. The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him. A vapor, a drop of water suffices to kill him. But, if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage which the universe has over him; the universe knows nothing of this. All our dignity consists, then, in thought. By it we must elevate ourselves, and not by space and time which we cannot fill. Let us endeavor, then, to think well; this is the principle of morality.”

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Friday's Dismal Job Numbers

The biggest obstacle that Barack Obama faces for reelection is economic reality. During the Democratic  Convention, one after another, speakers said the same thing: this is a deep economic crisis, but have patience; give us another four years and we we will turn the corner. Joe Biden said we were now turning the corner.

But we are not turning the corner and there are no good signs, not according to Friday's job report from the Labor Department, whose statistics are nails in the coffin for Democrats.

The main facts are as follows for August: unemployment went from 8.3% to 8.1%. But everyone agrees that does not demonstrate a recovery of jobs but a loss of jobs, because people who give up looking for work are not counted in calculating the unemployment rate. The rate fell because 368,000 Americans dropped out of the work force. Moreover, hourly pay fell.  In 2009 President Obama pushed his $830 million stimulus with the prediction that it would reduce unemployment to 5.6% by providing 5 million more jobs than we have now.

Economists say the Fed will now come to the rescue. Are they kidding? What has the Fed got left? Negative interest rates? A new bond-buying program. Well, it bucked up the stock market.

Before going to editorials or news digests, go to the Labor Department's "Economic News Release: Employment Situation Summer of September 7, 2012, for the raw data: August Employment Summary by BLS

Here is reaction:

Morton Zuckerman Editorial:
Jobless Numbers Worse Than They Look

Wall Street Journal Report:
Jobs Data Weigh on Fed, Obama

(Succinct and Accurate Summary)

There is disagreement about what would bring the country out of recession. There is almost no disagreement about how bad this is, and that may carry the day on November 6, 2012.

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