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Monday, October 08, 2012

Paul Krugman: Truth About Jobs

Good news for Obama in the form of polls, employment reports -- whatever -- drives the right crazy:

Truth About Jobs, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: If anyone had doubts about the madness that has spread through a large part of the American political spectrum, the reaction to Friday’s better-than expected report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics should have settled the issue. For the immediate response of many on the right — and we’re not just talking fringe figures — was to cry conspiracy. ...
It was nonsense, of course. Job numbers are prepared by professional civil servants, at an agency that currently has no political appointees. ... Furthermore, the methods the bureau uses are public...
Some background: the monthly employment report is based on two surveys. One asks a random sample of employers how many people are on their payroll. The other asks a random sample of households whether their members are working or looking for work. And if you look at the trend over the past year or so, both surveys suggest a labor market that is gradually on the mend ... The eye-popping number from Friday’s report was a sudden drop in the unemployment rate to 7.8 percent from 8.1 percent, but ... you shouldn’t put too much emphasis on one month’s number. The more important point is that unemployment has been on a sustained downward trend. ...
None of this should be taken to imply that the situation is good, or to deny that we should be doing better — a shortfall largely due to the scorched-earth tactics of Republicans, who have blocked any and all efforts to accelerate the pace of recovery. (If the American Jobs Act, proposed by the Obama administration last year, had been passed, the unemployment rate would probably be below 7 percent.) The U.S. economy is still far short of where it should be, and the job market has a long way to go before it makes up the ground lost in the Great Recession. But the employment data do suggest an economy that is slowly healing...
And that’s the truth that the right can’t handle. The furor over Friday’s report revealed a political movement that is rooting for American failure, so obsessed with taking down Mr. Obama that good news for the nation’s long-suffering workers drives its members into a blind rage. It also revealed a movement that lives in an intellectual bubble, dealing with uncomfortable reality — whether that reality involves polls or economic data — not just by denying the facts, but by spinning wild conspiracy theories.
It is, quite simply, frightening to think that a movement this deranged wields so much political power.

    Posted by on Monday, October 8, 2012 at 12:24 AM in Economics, Politics, Unemployment | Permalink  Comments (93)

          


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