The Obama administration has the U.S. presidential record for sustaining the highest unemployment rate for the longest period of time — 7.5 percent or above — yet the president claims it indicates that his economic stimulus plan was a success.
Since 1948, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics began estimating the unemployment rate, the United States has never experienced such a prolonged high unemployment period, now lasting 54 months, since Obama assumed the reins of power, according to CNS News.
The Bureau of Labor Services announced Friday that the June unemployment rate was 7.6 percent, unchanged from May, but that 40,000 more jobs were created than economists estimated. However, while 360,000 part-time jobs were added, the country lost 240,000 full-time jobs.
This dismal state of affairs prompted blogger David Burge to quip, “Unemployment report in a nutshell: the Taco Bell that had 30 40 hour workers now has 40 30 hour workers.”
CNS News noted:
In December 2008, the month after Obama was first elected and the month before he was inaugurated, unemployment was 7.3 percent. In January 2009, it climbed to 7.8 percent. In February, the month Obama signed what the Congressional Budget Office would later determine was an $830 billion economic stimulus law, the unemployment rate climbed to 8.3 percent.
In the Obama era, the unemployment rate peaked at 10.0 percent in October 2010. It did not dip below 9 percent until October 2011, when it hit 8.9 percent. From August to September 2012, it dropped from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent—the first time during Obama’s tenure it went under 8 percent.
Prior to the current administration, the longest such streak was 32 months, from September 1981 to April 1984, during Ronald Reagan’s reign. Reagan combatted unemployment by lowering tax rates to increase growth in the private sector. Obama chose to raise both taxes and government spending.
The Obama administration took the Bureau of Labor Statistics figures in stride, however, even claiming that it was proof that the almost $1 trillion in stimulus funds was money well spent.
Alan Kreuger, chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, noted, “In the four years since the recession ended in June 2009, the economy has added 5.3 million jobs, thanks to the resilience of the American people and policies like the Recovery Act, which helped bring the recession to an end and put us on the path to recovery,” according to The Washington Examiner.
If nothing else, we can’t accuse the administration of being pessimists. Nonetheless, I’m reminded of a remark the president made during his 2008 campaign: “You can’t put lipstick on a pig.” As the crowd cheered, according to Politico, he added, “It’s still a pig.”
Indeed it is, Mr. President, indeed it is.
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