Last Friday, the much anticipated jobs report was released. The official unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent in September. Both presidential candidates erupted with an explosion of soundbites—hardly any of them true.
President Obama: This is the best jobs report so far. It validates my approach. The economy is improving! Unemployment is down to the lowest level since I took office.
A bunch of half-truths and lies.
Presidential candidate Romney: This jobs report is terrible. The only reason the unemployment rate is falling is because discouraged workers are leaving the workforce. Elect me and I will fix this economy.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls), the economy created 114,000 jobs in September. That is hardly good. It’s not even enough to keep up with population growth. Nevertheless, at least the economy didn’t lose jobs. But the reason the unemployment rate fell is because the bls went back and revised up its estimates of the number of jobs created in the past three months. The bls says the previous bad job reports were not as bad as initially thought after all.
But is this evidence that the current policies are helping the economy? Only if you are a presidential candidate seeking reelection.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also calculates the labor force participation rate. This rate shows what percent of the total workforce is actually working. During the 2009 economic crisis, this rate plummeted as people lost their jobs. Since then it has continued to decline. America’s workforce is the smallest it has been since 1982! And that is despite all the population growth since then. According to the bls, when you factor in people who are no longer looking for work (due to discouragement, or early or forced retirement, etc.), the unemployment rate is actually a whopping 11 percent.
And oh—late in the day on Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its food stamp usage data. There are now 46,681,833 people reliant on food stamps—a new all-time record high. That is one in every seven Americans who are now relying on the government to eat. As economic blog ZeroHedge points out, the number of U.S. households taking food stamps rose by almost 100,000. Assuming two people per household, that means more people went on food stamps in the month than found jobs.
Does this sound like an economy that is on the verge of a recovery? Does this sound like an economy moving in the right direction?
On October 3, President Obama debated Mitt Romney for an hour. There was a lot of verbiage and snide accusations. But neither candidate was really interested in telling the American people the truth. Foreign Policy asks, can we have a third candidate?
[H]ow could we have both presidential candidates spend an hour talking about the economy and job creation without mentioning the loss of U.S. international competitiveness, the continuing chronic U.S. trade deficit, the off-shoring of U.S. jobs and technology, the low rate of U.S. investment compared to countries like China and Germany, and the abysmal state of U.S. infrastructure compared to other leading countries? How could there be a discussion of the economy without any questions about national priorities and without any comment on the impact of America’s role as the international hegemon and provider of global security on its ability to keep delivering the American Dream?
You want to know why neither candidate would touch these very real problems? Because despite their rhetoric, neither one has any answers.
The median household income in America last year was $50,054. That is $570 less than the median household income in 1989!
American families are making less money today than they were 22 years ago! Meanwhile, America’s national debt is skyrocketing, the budget deficit just hit $1 trillion again, Social Security is headed for bankruptcy, the dollar has been debased, the cost of just about everything has jumped dramatically, America’s education system is failing, families are falling apart at horrid rates, inner cities are crime-filled welfare centers, racial tensions are growing, jails are overflowing, drug use (legal and illegal) is at all-time highs, America has lost the war in Iraq and is losing in Afghanistan, and it can’t even maintain control of its own borders, where millions of illegal immigrants enter and exit at will each year.
In a recent poll, only 27 percent of Americans felt confident their children would be better off than them, according to the Financial Times (October 3).
No wonder people still vote for these lying politicians.
Voters want the prosperous America of yesteryear. They want their children to have a better life. They don’t want to face the hard reality that that America is gone and isn’t coming back anytime soon.
People want to believe the lie, so they vote for the liars.
America desperately needs new leadership. It needs incorruptible leaders who aren’t afraid of speaking the truth. It needs leadership that doesn’t care about votes. It needs a leader who will do what he says and make real changes that will actually benefit the people.
America won’t get that from either presidential candidate today, but thankfully, righteous leadership is coming to America—but not before a lot of very hard times first.
To see who this desperately needed leader will be, read The Lion Has Roared. ▪