Ed Driscoll

Your Scary-Ass Chart of the Day


“The Obama jobs recovery in one handy chart,” is what Allahpundit of Hot Air is calling the above image from The Federalist.com:

We all know the difference between the U-3 rate and the U-6 rate at this point (I hope), and so we all understand the perverse effect that a dwindling labor force can have on “the unemployment rate.” If you’re unemployed and looking for work, you’re part of the demand for labor that employers/suppliers are trying to meet. You count. if you’re unemployed and so deeply in despair about ever finding a job that you’ve given up looking, you don’t. Get enough people to give up and the labor force just might shrink to the point where marginal job gains overall can produce relatively steep drops in the U-3 rate. Which, of course, explains how America made sub-seven-percent magic last month with that 74,000-job stinkeroo.

We all know that (again, I hope) and we’ve all seen depressing graphs by now like the ones posted at Zero Hedge showing the slow, steady contraction of America’s labor force. The graph below, though, by Sean Davis of the Federalist, visualized the U-3/U-6 contrast in a way I don’t think I’d ever seen before. If you want to grasp just how few real gains have been made since the recession supposedly ended in June 2009, gawk away[.]

As Iowahawk Tweets, “If we can keep encouraging people to drop out of the labor force, we’ll be at full employment in no time! #Yay”

Or to put it another way, “Who Needs Ayn Rand? America Has Already Gone John Galt,” Roger L. Simon writes in response to the grim numbers:

The implications of this are actually terrifying.  What are those nearly 92 million people doing with their time, other than sitting around depressed?.  Many, of course, are on some version of welfare.  Some are panhandling.  We see the homeless on the streets of all our big cities. Others are moving into a shadow economy, much of it illegal (drugs, prostitution), not paying taxes on whatever they earn. It’s truly a sad situation.  No wonder so many states are moving toward legalizing grass.  Everyone wants to zone out.

This is rapidly approaching a a pre-revolutionary condition, but not for a revolution many of us would want to undergo.  To avoid it, a massive change must occur at the federal level.  But Barack Obama, mired in a dead ideology, doesn’t seem prepared to do anything but prolong the situation with highly  conventional liberal solutions that have failed for decades, maybe even centuries.

And yet there is so much he could do.  The most obvious, many of us know, is to unshackle the energy industry. He should dismantle much of the bureaucracy as well. There’s a lot more, of course.  But the point now is to realize that when you have nearly 92 million people deserting the labor force in a country of 317 million (many of who are children too young to work), you have a catastrophic problem on your hands.

But Obama can’t be seen “unshackling the energy industry” — his base won’t allow him to; they’d much rather stand athwart history yelling stop, to coin a phrase. Or as Lachlan Markay writes today at the Washington Free Beacon, “Leading left-wing advocacy group MoveOn.org announced a new effort on Thursday to oppose innovations that are propelling the country towards a new abundance of domestically produced energy:”

MoveOn bemoaned in an email to supporters the “troubling trend” of increased energy production, which is reducing the U.S. trade deficit, creating well-paying jobs, stabilizing global energy prices, and undermining the economic engine behind some of the world’s most repressive regimes.

MoveOn announced the creation of a new effort called “#FrackingFighter,” which “seeks to slow down the fracking boom that is anticipated to occur across the United States in 2014 and beyond.”

The increased use of hydraulic fracturing, an innovative oil and gas technique, has sent U.S. energy production skyrocketing, MoveOn said. It vowed to slow or reverse that trend.

Many environmentalist groups say they want government to adequately regulate the practice. MoveOn took a more radical approach, pushing activists to work “to ban fracking in their local communities.”

Well, that ought to make Saudi Arabia and Al Gore’s bosses in Qatar awfully happy. Curious how that always seems to work out that way, no?

In the meantime, to further placate their base on the far left and the MSM (but I repeat myself), in response to the truly horrendous jobs numbers — so bad that even MSNBC is blanching — the Obama administration itself is yelling “Squirrel!”

Update: Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) notes that “for every one job added, nearly 5 people left the workforce entirely.”

Hey, Time magazine promised you in 2008 that you’d be getting the next FDR — they apparently didn’t realize that it was a warning, not a compliment.