What is the shape of the unemployment curve? Glenn Reynolds regularly features this graph showing the Administration’s predicted unemployment numbers versus the reported. It is in one sense a graph that the administration would be happy to see vindicated. Even if the magnitudes are off, if the shape of the actual curve tracked predictions then policies are working — just not as quickly as anticipated. Both curves peak when at the same point and decline at roughly the same slope.
But suppose that this is a picture of the wrong curve? CNN’s Nin Tsai Tseng gives the reasons to doubt. “Federal Reserve officials have suggested that earlier declines in joblessness may have less to do with an improving economy than the fall in the labor force participation rate (the number of working-age Americans who are either holding a job or looking for one).”
A closer look provides even more reasons to worry. Ezra Klein at the Washington Post reproduces, practically without comment an alternative chart from Nomura Global Economics as cited by FT Alphaville, which does take declining labor participation into account. The reason for his speechlessness is obvious. It means the President’s program isn’t working. Nomura’s chart shows unemployment as essentially constant. It’s not dropping at all. As Cardiff Garcia at Alphaville puts it:
But what is striking about the broken line above isn’t where it now ends — at 10.3 per cent — but rather the lack of any meaningful, sustained improvement for more than two years.
The same bleak story is told by the ratios between the population of those aged 25-54 and employment. That age range contains most people who should be working. And that ratio too is moving sideways after having fallen. In the more intuitive sense of the joblessness, things got worse and stayed there.
Remember that this is despite an $800 billion dollar stimulus and “growth” effort touted by the administration over the last 3 and half years. Roger Simon says that the May unemployment figures represent the final nail in the coffin for the claim that things are really getting better only they seem temporarily worse. This is it and there’s no denying it.
Although the partisan political implications of this are obvious, the numbers really suggest a problem that go beyond the current administration. Taken together with the problems in Europe unyielding unemployment figures — when added to the double dip recession the Western world is about to enter — implies that we are not only at the end of an adminstration but that the world is collectively at the end of an era.
We’re not about to become Greece. We are Greece. Those of us who live in California are already Greece squared.
Liberalism is not only dead, it’s decomposed. We’d better inter it this November or we are all fools.
The thing about modern liberalism that most liberals don’t see is that it is so unbelievably square and conventional, so hopelessly old-fashioned. It is the most unexamined of unexamined wisdom. It’s not even an ideology. It’s a pose.
Something doesn’t work any more. Of course the leftist view is that we although we are at the end of the era what we are witnessing is the end of capitalism. But don’t worry: we are on the verge of a United States of Europe, more Hope and Change and a double down on everything.
The President clearly thinks more of the same is better. “A mere hour after the catastrophic unemployment report came in, the … president hopped aboard Air Force One at your expense to attend a mind-numbing six fundraisers.”
President Obama will jump-start what looks to be a major June fundraising push with six money events today in Minneapolis and Chicago – the most fundraisers he’s held in a single day since launching his bid for a second term.
Obama is expected to raise more than $7.2 million total for the Obama Victory Fund (OVF), according to figures provided by the campaign.
Flying to Minnesota under the banner of “official business” – an event at a Honeywell factory in a Minneapolis suburb – Obama will quickly turn to politics, lunching with three separate sets of donors at the downtown Bachelor Farmer restaurant, an eatery owned by Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton’s two sons, Eric and Andrew.
The president will first address a group of 100 guests, each paying $5,000 a plate. He then will meet privately with two small roundtables of deep-pocket supporters – one group paying $40,000 per person; the other $50,000 per person, a campaign official said. (The $50k ticket price is the largest for any Obama fundraiser held since the start of the campaign.)
Which narrative the electorate chooses to believe is the what November will decide. Of course in the Greece the electorate has already spoken. They clearly want more socialism perhaps in the belief that the only reason it hasn’t worked so far is because it hasn’t been tried hard enough.
By the way, I am adding a new link to the bottom of each post called Belmont Commenters. It’s basically a list of all the links I’ve gone through in writing up the day’s post, including those that were never used. If people find it useful, I’ll invite the some of the regulars to join and add links to the group link page.
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