Last month, the Professional Left took aim at the President for the dismal jobs numbers in June, and just yesterday, Paul Krugman, on the occasion of the stock market plunge, declared in the New York Times, "we are not now and have never been on the road to recovery," while throwing in a gratuitous jab at the President for not podium pounding "Truman-style." But last month, I noted that jobs are the lagging indicator in an economic recovery - especially in one that is recovering from the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression. I also noted a few factors in favor of future job creation in June: 85% of retailers reported better than expected gains in sales (not hard to understand that when sales rise, businesses hire), consumer credit was up, US jobs index was the highest since immediately before the economic, and small business borrowing was at its highest in June since 2008.
I also pointed out that those factors caused economists at top financial institutions expected unemployment to fall throughout this year and next. And what happened in July? Despite big worries in the market, despite the Republicans holding the economy hostage, despite all of that, the job market sprinted at a faster pace than estimates:
Employers added 117,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said Friday, compared with a revised 46,000 in June and better than the 85,000 net new jobs that forecasters had expected. The unemployment rate ticked down to 9.1 percent, from 9.2 percent in June.Now, everyone should keep in mind this rate of job creation needs to be sustained and accelerated to actually ease the jobs crisis. There is nothing wrong with being worried about jobs in an economy where people are still suffering tremendously. However, there can be little doubt that we are moving in the right direction.
The private sector did even better, adding 154,000 positions, but governments--particularly at the state and local level--slashed so many jobs as to reduce overall job growth.
Of course, when we are dealing with long term economy and economic indicators by looking at month-to-month or even day-to-day data (such as the stock market, as Krugman did), the complete picture is difficult to put together. I will be the first to recognize that it is impossible to give you an all-arching view of the economy, given that there are so many moving factors. By the way, just as an aside here, Paul Krugman is suddenly concerned about the stock market - as I have noticed many on the Professional Left have become in the last week - and faults the President and the administration at least partly for that, but somehow I don't remember him or the whiny Left ever crediting the President or the administration as the stock market recovered all of its value and then some since the fiscal crisis of 2008-2009.
Actually, come to think of it, Paul Krugman the rookie politician may think it apt to attack the President over Thursday's stock market slump and simply avoid crediting the same President for the long-term recovery of the same, but the Paul Krugman of 2009 told us that the stock market, uhh, doesn't mean anything! From April 7, 2009, on the Rachel Maddow show:
KRUGMAN: I mean, instead of things getting steadily worse—the Dow is terrible, right? The stock market, by my count, has predicted six of the last one recoveries, right? It doesn‘t mean anything.And here is Krugman yesterday:
Thursday’s more than 500-point plunge in the Dow Jones industrial average and the drop in interest rates to near-record lows confirmed it: The economy isn’t recovering...So, let's see. Then: the stock market doesn't mean anything in terms of a recovery. Now: a one-day plunge in the stock market confirms that the economy is not recovering. You see, what he really meant is that the stock market doesn't mean anything unless you can use it to whack-a-mole President Obama. Now it all makes sense. Heh, and you thought only Mitt Romney spoke from both sides of his mouth.
By the way, what else did Prof. Krugman say back in April of 2009 about things that might help with an economic recovery?
MADDOW: What do you think the priorities should be policy-wise for the administration in fixing stuff that‘s really wrong?And look, what have we here... Wall Street Reform, complete with a powerful and independent consumer protection agency, signed into law by President Obama last year, doing exactly the things Krugman said should be done: overhaul the financial industry regulatory system, giving regulators the power to wind down financial institutions that threaten the larger economy, and the first ever federal agency dedicated to regulating the financial industry to protect the interest of consumers. Somehow, we don't hear much of a peep from Prof. Krugman giving the President kudos for that - for you know, in his words, actually fixing the system and not just recovering the economy. What's up with that, Sir?
KRUGMAN: I think that we really need to completely overhaul the way we regulate the financial system. I mean, there—one of the things—you know, we could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory here. If we get an economic recovery but we don't actually fix that system, then the same thing is going to happen to us.
You know, we have—we‘ve been—we spent the last 20 years lurching from bubble to bubble—basically is the description. And if we don‘t fix it, then, that will happen all over again. So, we need to really tighten the regulation. You have to make sure that people who lend money have to keep some stake in the loan so they don‘t sell off the whole thing and then forget about it.
What do you call this hit and run, and this stock market doesn't matter when it's good for the president and does when it's bad meme, if not concern trolling?
Let's get serious. We have a long way to go in our economic recovery, and the Republican party is dedicated to blocking any economic health for the American people - both because it's electorally advantageous for them, and it makes cheap labor for their corporate overlords. It's the President who has been consistently trying to fight off the monkey-wrench throwers in the environment of unprecedented obstruction and the Teabagging nutjobs emboldened from the last election. It's time Krugman and the rest of the Professional Left got off their high horses, took a realistic view of both politics and economics, and lent the President a helping hand instead of constantly knifing him in the back.