The President is making things worse! His economic policies haven't worked! We must stop giving consumers power!
These are the cries of the modern day GOP. Over the past months, though, as the economy has shown better signs of life, including in the job market, their chants have been harder to sustain, their disregard for facts not withstanding. Today's jobs report - with 257,000 private sector jobs created in January and the unemployment rate falling to a three-year low of 8.3%, numbers significantly better than most predictions - serves them up with another well-deserved, nice, big plate of crow.
The chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Alan Krueger provides a great summary for the current employment situation:
The unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage point to 8.3%, from a high of 10% in October 2009. The drop in unemployment over the month was entirely due to employment growth, as the labor force participation rate remained constant, once new population weights are taken into account. The unemployment rate has fallen by 0.8 percentage point in the last 12 months. Private sector payrolls increased by 257,000 jobs and overall payroll employment rose by 243,000 jobs in January. Despite adverse shocks that have created headwinds for economic growth, the economy has added private sector jobs for 23 straight months, for a total of 3.7 million payroll jobs over that period. In the last 12 months, 2.2 million private sector jobs were added on net. Nonetheless, we need faster growth to put more Americans back to work.Looked at another way,
The Republicans have consistently blocked, derailed and discredited President Obama's attempts to create jobs. When they came to power in the states last year, they made sure that as much of the private sector jobs growth as possible would be negated by the jobs they were eliminating of teachers, firefighters, police officers and other crucial public service personnel in their states while taking state helicopter rides to their own kids' games.
Yet, the President has kept a consistent focus and worked tirelessly to return the economy to health. He has been obstructed and fought every step of the way by two-faced Republicans - people who at once claimed that the president's first recovery package created no jobs and wrote letters asking for stimulus money for their districts specifically citing its job creating potential, people who famously called for Detroit to go bankrupt and once the President's rescue of the American auto industry succeeded, claimed it was their idea all along, people who ridiculed the President for protecting the safety net for laid off workers in the form of unemployment insurance and lamented about unemployment, people who in the same breath said tax cuts for the rich do not need to be paid for but a payroll tax cut for everyone who earns a paycheck needs to sunset.
Join this level of Republican obstructionism to what people supposedly on our "own" side did to him: advocating for complete inaction on things like health reform and Wall Street reform if they couldn't get all their ponies, to outright opposing the payroll tax cuts on the fictitious ground that it would harm the basis for the popularity of social security. The whiner's disdain for the President they saw as inept and - hell, they all but said it, uppity - and their constant barrage of attacks set progress back as much as anything the Republicans did.
The good news today is that with 257,000 new private sector jobs created last month and the unemployment rate dropping to a three-year low, there's plenty of crow to go around for both the rabid Right and the radical Left.
When thanks to this collaboration from the ideologue radical Left, the GOP gained power last year in Congress, they were even more vicious in trying to kill the president's jobs agenda. When the President proposed a jobs package consisting only of things that both parties have traditionally agreed on, Republicans turned their back. When the president wanted to make investments in American students, American jobs and American manufacturing, they balked at 'spending', yet had no trouble spending trillions on tax giveaways for the super rich and multinational corporations.
But the President didn't give up. He broke up his jobs plan into smaller bills and tried to push those through Congress. He was relentless in making sure that into this year, the working poor and the middle class kept their payroll tax relief, and the unemployed continued to have a safety net. The battle on that front isn't over, however, as it was only a temporary extension for two months, and Congress is going to have to extend it again.
And the president went beyond the legislative rancor, resolving to do what he can legally through administrative means. The White House launched the We Can't Wait campaign, and has already launched new initiatives to boost travel and tourism in the United States, launched a summer jobs initiative, appointed Richard Cordray to the consumer protection agency so that consumers can spend more confidently, launched two initiatives to provide $2 billion for start-ups, made a $4 billion investment into energy efficiency, provided new resources for veterans to find jobs, and so much more.
From the day he came into office, the President has been committed to rebuilding the American economy - not on boom and bust but on sound basis. He knew the rewards won't come right away, and many in his party paid a tough political price in 2010 for doing the right thing. The good news is that we are now beginning to see the results of the President's resolute focus. America is coming back - it may even be starting to roar back!