If you can’t beat em… change the conversation. That seems to be the strategy the Obama administration and its supporters are taking for the 2012 campaign season. During the weakest post-recession recovery in history, there’s very little material to accentuate the positive with, so the Democrats are trying to make up for it by dividing the American public with class warfare and trying to convince women they need dependency on government for protection.
While stocks may be at an all-time high and the federal unemployment rate has fallen to the lowest point since President Barack Obama took office, the economy is nowhere near recovery as the labor force participation rate (which indicates the share of working-age people in the labor force) is still at a near 30 year low.
Quantitative easing from the Federal Reserve has allowed banks to use the newly printed money to right size their balance sheets, but they’re still not lending out to businesses and homeowners, so stock gains can be credited to inflation more than anything else. In fact, Friday’s lackluster jobs report has now sparked talk again of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke contemplating a 3rd round of QE to make up for lack of economic growth.
Hiring was lackluster in many industries. Retail-store employment dropped by 34,000, despite a recent rise in consumer spending, while construction payrolls fell by 7,000. Temporary-help jobs, often a bellwether of the job market’s direction, fell by 7,500 after rising by nearly 55,000 in February. One bright spot was manufacturing jobs, which rose by 37,000, led by the auto and auto-parts industries.
But the main driver of the lower unemployment rate was that it was entirely due to people dropping out of the labor force altogether and giving up looking for work. In fact, if all those people were still looking for employment, the real unemployment rate would be 10.9% instead of 8.2%.
Rising inflation and falling labor force participation will not provide a strong economic record for Obama to run for re-election on. Couple that with rising gas prices, record debt and deficits, and tax breaks expiring for all Americans at the end of the year, and this makes for a very weak campaign platform in 2012.
So the Obama re-election campaign’s new strategy is to distract Americans from the lack of economic recovery with fabricated perceptions of Republicans “being out of touch” with wider America.
They accuse the GOP of waging a “war on women” because they won’t subsidize birth control and support the widely unpopular ObamaCare legislation. They claim Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) wants to “hurt the poor” for trying to reform unsustainable entitlements so they’ll even be around for future generations. They tease 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney for being in the 1% when almost half of all politicians in Washington, including Obama, also belong in that category.
While it may provide for great political chatter on talk shows, the bottom line is Americans are still struggling to find jobs, pay bills, and provide for their families. Romney jokes and Ryan attacks won’t help Americans solve their problems. Piling on more regulations, taxes, and debt won’t create certainty or encourage investment, expansion, and job creation.
Any chance the Democrats will be spending their time and efforts on more important things like passing a long overdue 2012 budget – one that would leave Americans with more money in their pockets instead of debt? Or is Sandra Fluke’s 15 minutes still not over?