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Ed Driscoll

The Leitmotif of the Obama Era: ‘Less Than Expected’

July 6th, 2012 - 12:32 pm

Recovery Bummer

The above cartoon is by the great Michael Ramirez of Investor’s Business Daily.

From the summer of 2010.

It reflects, as a recent article at Reason notes, “42 Straight Months of Stupidly Optimistic Official Predictions About Economic Recovery.” Bringing us up to today’s job report which Bloomberg News — as is their wont – describes as “Less Than Expected” in their headline:

American employers added fewer workers to payrolls than forecast in June and the jobless rate stayed at 8.2 percent as the economic outlook dimmed.

The 80,000 gain in employment followed a 77,000 increase in May, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. Economists projected a 100,000 rise, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. Growth in private payrolls was the weakest in 10 months.

Stocks fell on concern hiring has shifted into a lower gear, restricting consumer spending and leaving the economy more vulnerable to a global slowdown. The figures underscore concern among some Federal Reserve policy makers that growth isn’t fast enough to lower unemployment stuck above 8 percent since February 2009.

The headline that Bloomberg uses today is “U.S. Payrolls in June Rise Less Than Expected.”

The headline that Bloomberg used on June 8th of last year was “U.S. Payrolls Grow at Slowest Pace in 9 Months.”

For that article, the “unexpectedly” came in the lede, not the headline, but it was there as well:

American employers added jobs at the slowest pace in nine months in June and the unemployment rate unexpectedly climbed to 9.2 percent, sending global stocks sliding on concern the world’s biggest economy is faltering.

Beyond the virulent case of amnesia that’s spread through newsrooms throughout America, there’s also the cognitive dissonance of defending a president who wants to have his hand in every facet of the economy in mid 20th century Soviet John Kenneth Galbraith-style, and yet must now be described by the MSM as concurrently too weak to do anything about the same economy he desires complete control over. This strain of Orwellian doublethink can be explained as the Obamamedia doing what it can to calm voters’ fears (and their own), because as Jonathan S. Tobin of Commentary wrote yesterday in anticipation of today’s grim employment report, “It’s Getting Late Early for Obama’s Economy:”

The numbers matter because they are the tangible measure of the success of failure of any administration in proving the country is in better shape than it was when they took over the big fancy offices in Washington after the last presidential election. If voters take these numbers seriously it’s because that along with personal experiences they help form the voters’ overall impression of the state of the economy. The key here is not so much the details of each report as it is the trajectory of the nation’s finances. Moreover, given the fact that we are just four months away from the November election, it’s that point in time when, in the immortal words of Yogi Berra, politicians begin to understand that “it gets late early out there.” Once the electorate accepts the verdict that the economy is either on the decline or on the rise, a possible change in the fall (with the exception perhaps of a collapse on Wall Street such as occurred in September 2008) is unlikely.

Which is why, right on cue with today’s poor jobs report, the presidential palace guard in the MSM goes on the air and cranks out articles suggesting, as one Oba-booster at ABC does, that no modern president “can do much to change the situation.”

Barack Obama — or at least his speechwriters — once thought differently, as we’ll explore on the next page.

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