What to say when the doomsday scenario doesn’t pan out: UPDATE "This is not what a real recovery looks like," Romney said.
Like a flip-flopping, fast talking used car salesman, Mitt Romney may have outscored Barack Obama in verbiage in the recent debate. But his doomsday scenario about the economy is becoming unraveled. For the longest, his campaign tagline has been: Unemployment has been above 8% since President Obama took office. The economy is getting worse, not better.
However, today’s report shows that the economy added 114,000 jobs in September, sending the unemployment rate down to 7.8%. What will Mitt Romney say now? Will he continue to say the economy is failing, when “the economy has now added jobs for 24 straight months”?
What will the prophets of doom, like Rush Limbaugh, say? As we all recall, from the time Limbaugh professed that he “hopes Obama fails”, there has been of chorus of audio suggestions of the president’s failing. Like sorcery and witchcraft that repeatedly suggest to a healthy man that he is sick, some people were convinced that our economy is dying. What now? A new false prophecy?
The usual recourse to the evident improvement has been this “sour grapes” assertion: But fewer people are looking for jobs because millions are dropping out of the job market. So the employment numbers do not tell the whole story. People are hurting.
This is what we can expect to hear from the partisan naysayers who prefer to paint a dismal economic picture, in order to recapture the White House. Bad news is good news to them, because it enhances their cry for change. But if it ain’t broke, why fix it?
That the economy is improving, despite every attempt by Republicans to make Obama a one-term president, they conveniently forget from whence we come, though Romney himself acknowledges the bad situation the president inherited. But, according to him, “things have gotten no better”. Proof: Above 8% unemployment.
By now, we all know that a falling economy does not reverse course just because of a new presidency. Economic laws dictate that an economy must bottom out first. And, by the time Obama took office, the economy was still in free fall.
Maybe with a little more cooperation from the Republicans in Congress, the bleeding might have been abated before unemployment soared above 10%. Enough said: This administration helped break the fall by implementing a stimulus program that included a government bailout of the auto industry and Wall Street. Workers went back to work. The world financial markets were stabilized.
For the sake of peace between parties, the administration forewent taking punitive criminal action against those who caused the crisis. And, Wall Street took a reprieve to resume doing business as usual, using government money to pay high salaries and bonuses. This, no doubt, will cease, if Obama is given a second term.
On the other hand, the GOP wants to go back to business as usual, back to old policies and strategies that caused the previous collapse, mainly by giving tax breaks to the rich, in the hopes to induce more investment in the private sector and create new jobs.
This prescription was once called “Trickle Down Economics”. The misdiagnosis comes in when Finance Capital seeks profit wherever it may be found in the global market. It does not necessarily go out create jobs for a patriotic reason. The slogan Made in America was created to boost domestic productivity, and hence induce Capital to stay inside the United States.
The Obama administration removed the financial incentives for shipping jobs overseas by raising taxes on those who export jobs. This goes contrary to Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital approach. If Bain were patriotic to the U.S. in job creation motive, it would not have offices in London, Luxembourg, Munich, Mumbai, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo.
Keeping jobs at home has been a priority of the Obama administration. And, through federal support for education, the administration is trying to enhance the domestic jobs market with more skilled workers, in higher payer fields, rather than having to recruit from overseas. And, through innovations, it has opened up new markets and new employment opportunities.
Now that the unemployment rate has dipped below Romney’s baseline benchmark, the only thing the prophets of doom can say is: “Sour grapes”.
Eddie G. Griffin