This trend has already twisted the impact of official state and local employment reports. In Ohio, for example, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped from 10.8% to 10.1% in September. Big deal; the change occurred not because more people found work, but because more people dropped out.
Beyond that, those who are still working are on average working less and taking home less. The average work week, at 33 hours, is at a record low. The government’s September index of real average weekly earnings was down 1.9% from December.
One quarter of positive GDP growth hardly makes up for all of this. That there is a palpable sense of misery permeating this economy — and that it is not dissipating — is undeniable.
Now that this malaise has arrived and appears likely to remain in place for a while, many members of the Democratic Party are glad it’s here. That’s because they believe that the currently awful economy will help them pass government-controlled health care and other elements of their statist agenda.
I’m not saying it; they are, up to and including the president himself:
The bad economy is good for President Obama and Democrats as they try to reinvent the health care system with scant Republican support.
… Congressional Democrats … say that economic insecurity and high unemployment stoke public support for their proposals to guarantee insurance for millions of Americans. …
[Washington Congressman James McDermott said that] “in 1993, we were talking about the uninsured as ‘them.’ Now it turns out this is for us. When a bank like Washington Mutual in Seattle lays off 3,000 people, they lose health insurance. Millions of people with insurance are asking, ‘What if I lose my job?’”
Mr. Obama is doing everything he can to highlight this sense of insecurity as he tries to persuade people with insurance that his proposals would help them. Worries about insurance are “keeping more and more Americans awake at night,” he said last month.
The fate of health legislation may hinge on whether those anxieties trump concerns about the effects of the Democratic proposals.
Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank, sensing a historic control-enhancing opportunity, is doing his part to capitalize on the widespread economic stress. Recently on MSNBC, the Frank said that in regards to the nation’s financial system, “we are trying on every front to increase the role of government in the regulatory area.” This comes from a guy who for the past year has stood idly by while the Federal Housing Administration has proactively (I would argue deliberately) repeated the mistakes that sent Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over the cliff to the tune of what will ultimately be hundreds of billions of bailout dollars.
Thus, the very people who over a year ago brought about what I have since July 2008 been calling the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) economy now want to capitalize on it to enact their power-hungry, commerce-crippling agenda.
Beltway Democrats’ detestable, ghoulishly opportunistic, and barely disguised euphoria over how bad it is for so many of us is enough to make you wonder if they set out to create this mess in the first place. The way they are now attempting to take advantage of it lends strong credence to that belief, almost to the point where you don’t really need to wonder any more. After all, if taking down the economy wasn’t their original goal, you would expect that they’d be reacting very differently now — and they’re not. Our national nightmare is Rahm Emanuel’s and his party’s dream come true.