Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
--C.S. Lewis--

Saturday, November 7, 2009

10.2% Unemployment

The new unemployment figures are bad for the Obama administration on several levels. For one thing, the phrase "double-digit unemployment" sounds terrible, feels terrible, and is terrible. More importantly though, we weren't supposed to get here. Remember the nifty charts showing unemployment with and without the stimulus package? Well, job losses have been higher than what the president projected we'd see without the stimulus package. He and his folks have two alternatives. Either the stimulus bill was only marginally effective because Congress used it as a pork dispensing bill rather than a real economic stimulus (remember, the president punted and let Congress write their own bill), or his administration completely underestimated the scope of the crisis. So far, they've chosen the second option. How reassuring...

Of course, the president and his defenders are quick to point out that unemployment is a lagging indicator, and really isn't a sound index of economic health. They're right of course. Employers make sure things are looking up BEFORE hiring new employees. But guess what? That was true in every previous administration, and no one cared then either. George W. Bush lost his re-election over much lower unemployment rates. It's a lousy economic indicator, but its a great indicator of how people are affected by the economy. Is it fair? No, and it wasn't fair when George Bush got beaten up for 5% unemployment either. Life sucks. Buy a helmet Mr. President. And next time, don't tell everyone that job creation is your "number one" priority.

As cap-and-trade and the healthcare bill keep getting pushed back, it looks more and more the like the mid-terms may end up being a "jobs" election. Right now, that's bad news for the Dems.