As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Did Job Growth Occur IN SPITE of Obama?

President Obama is walking around – I’m sorry, flying around, at taxpayer expense – bragging about how the economy is picking up and we’re creating jobs finally and unemployment is going down and THANK GOD FOR MY POLICIES.

Obama koalaWhat policies? The stimulus was five years ago. That’s not making jobs today. That’s like saying I have to pee because of all that Gatorade I drank last week.

And now comes a new study, touted recently by National Review and today by the Wall Street Journal, that makes the case the jobs were created IN SPITE of Obama and his gloating geniuses on the Council of Economic Advisors.

Very simply the repeated extensions of jobless benefits seem to have suppressed employment, and the termination of the unemployment benefit extensions by Congress at the end of 2013 – derided as heartless and inept by Obama and his Democratic allies – coincided with a substantial pickup in job gains this year.

According to the Wall Street Journal:

Job growth in 2014 was roughly 25 percent higher than any post-2009 year. Joblessness plunged to 5.6% from 6.7%. Net job creation averaged 246,000 a month. What happened?

Assuming that the pre-2014 trends would have continued among the two groups, the authors find that “the cut in unemployment benefit duration led to a 2% increase in aggregate employment, accounting for nearly all of the remarkable employment growth in the U.S. in 2014.” They then confirm these results with a second experiment that compares adjacent counties in different states whose economies are otherwise equal except for their unemployment benefits.

Notably, job growth improved most in states and counties that offered the most generous benefits before Congress took away the punch bowl. This suggests that the extra jobless benefits reduced the incentives for businesses to create jobs and for jobless workers to fill the vacancies.

Paying people not to work means they have less incentive to get on a payroll. More generous benefits also discourage businesses from hiring. Since benefits raise the price at which people are willing to search for work, employers must pay above-market wages in the more generous regions, and respond by creating jobs elsewhere or not at all.

The study actually emphasizes the latter point, that with the cost to hire lowered, businesses started looking for new employees. That the unemployment insurance extensions would have a deleterious effect is exactly what conservatives were arguing, to much opprobrium, in 2013.

One of them wrote:

Long term unemployment under President Obama is at the highest level since at least the end of World War II, threatening to create a permanent underclass of workers who will find it difficult or impossible to obtain jobs in the future. What’s more, Obama’s insistence on repeatedly extending long term unemployment benefits may be fueling the unemployment problem.

A paper released by the Boston Federal Reserve paints a pernicious picture of the problem: Employers seem to be throwing out the resumes of the long-term unemployed and only hiring those who have been without a job for less than six months. Meanwhile, with the guarantee of benefits rolling in, the long term jobless might not be looking aggressively enough for work, the paper states.

Oh yeah, that was me, back in January 2013.

And yet, we were the uncaring jerks.

“I hope a few reasonable and empathetic Republicans will join my colleague from Nevada, Sen. Heller, and help us advance this bill,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid about legislation to extend unemployment benefits in 2013. The was the extension that finally didn’t pass.

National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling gave one of his typically plaintive performances in the briefing room, as I wrote in 2013, lamenting, “today and tomorrow are the days that the 1.3 million Americans will find their temporary lifeline not in their mailbox.”

Aww. Instead, they’re finding a paycheck in their mailboxes.

Obama even appeared last January at the White House accompanied by a few poor unemployed souls whose job searches somehow took them to the East Room:

And getting people back on the job faster is one of our top priorities. But I have to confess, last month, Congress made that harder by letting unemployment insurance expire for more than a million people. And each week that Congress fails to restore that insurance, roughly 72,000 Americans will join the ranks of the long-term unemployed who have also lost their economic lifeline.

And for our fellow Americans who have been laid off, through no fault of their own, unemployment insurance is often the only source of income they’ve got to support their families while they look for a new job. So when Erick was out of work, it’s a lot harder to look for work if you can’t put gas in the gas tank, if you’re worried about whether there’s food on the table for your kid. If Mom isn’t making the rent and paying her phone bill, it’s a lot harder for her to follow up with a potential employer. Unemployment insurance provides that extra bit of security so that losing your livelihood doesn’t mean you lose everything that you’ve worked so hard to build. And that’s true whether you’ve been out of work for one month or six months.

Here’s the essential difference between the liberal and the conservative mindset. Obama thinks not having the cash provided by welfare makes it “a lot harder to look for work if you can’t put gas in the gas tank, if you’re worried about whether there’s food on the table for your kid.” Conservatives have another idea: These problems actually make it a lot easier. I mean, who is going to ignore their alarm clock and miss the interview if they’re out of money?

Honestly, I vote for making this woman the chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors. I’m not joking. She has a better economic program than any I’ve heard out of this administration. It’s called the STOP BEING LAZY AND GET A JOB initiative.

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11 Responses to Did Job Growth Occur IN SPITE of Obama?

  1. Hello? Did they take into consideration that our unemployment rate is still ‘high’

    Just because they shoved everyone no longer on unemployment into the ‘not in labor force’ category doesn’t mean those people don’t still need jobs. They’re still there, they’re still looking, and the unemployment number is still a sham.

  2. Here in Montgomery Texas I see people (men and women) walking in their work uniforms to get to work. I would give them a ride, but they walk on the side of oncoming traffic. This tells me they don’t need help to get where their going.. Now that is the American spirit, saying,
    I can do this without help….

  3. This is total effing bullshit. I live in one of the most affluent counties in the country, right near Governor Christie, and you would not believe how many people I know whose careers and lives have been decimated in this fucking shit economy. From the lower paying jobs to very highly paid professionals, people are long-term unemployed and hurting badly. I know several people with multiple degrees and decades in their industries who have been scraping by for the last six years, taking temporary contracts and crap jobs, while draining their hard earned life’s savings, retirement accounts, and college funds just to get by.

    There is NO job growth, especially not in the industries that have been hit hard. I know several people who once made a lot of money in NYC, and those days are long over through no fault of their own. They did everything right – got their degrees, (two and three degrees), busted their asses for decades in their careers, were valuable employees, but got laid off, in some cases two and three times over the last several years.

    I am beyond pissed that you – Keith – and the asshole Republicans think these unfortunate professionals are too freaking lazy to get jobs. Tell that to the guy I know who made well over six figures but took a six week gig over the holidays being a “helper” on a fucking UPS truck, (at 61 years old). These people are trying anything and everything to get their careers back on track, but in the mean time, grabbing whatever crap they can (and even that is next to impossible). This particular person was unfortunately laid off again in 2014 and used up the six months unemployment, (which was a tiny fraction of his normal salary). To think that he sat home on his ass for six months because that lousy unemployment check was so good is outrageous. People are spending all day every day working their contacts, applying for anything and everything, hardly getting any interviews at all, and when they do they’re told they’re “overqualified” for the fucking position (yeah, because the person whom they’d be working for is less qualified and scared shitless to hire someone with such an impressive resume). No more unemployment checks for thes people since the economy is so great now, (total lie), while other people I know who were on the much lower end of the pay scale received almost two freaking years of unemployment checks, (they still can’t find jobs, by the way). But now since the economy is so good (NOT) the recently laid off highly paid professionals who paid a ton into unemployment over DECADES got six months and told that’s it. Again there are NO jobs and until we get rid of the evil jackass in the White House, there won’t be.

    Keith, I think you’re living in a bubble in Northern Va, one of the very few places where people are doing just fine. You clearly have no idea how bad it is out here. Believe me, there are many, many people suffering and they didn’t sit on their asses while they were getting those unemployment checks. The checks are gone, and they still can’t find work. Most of them went from upper middle class, a place where they busted their asses for decades to attain, to just giving up on the dream. They’re the unlucky ones, through no fault of their own. There weren’t jobs for the six months they got those checks and there aren’t any jobs now. Most were smart enough to have a decent amount of money socked away, and they’re now living on that between what few temporary jobs they can get. There will be no such thing as “retirement” for them, that’s over. Decades of hardwork and sacrifice, combined with smart investing and careful saving, only to be brought to this place near the latter part of their careers. Btw, they’re using their savings to not only live and pay the bills, but also to pay for health insurance for their families. That alone is the size of a mortgage payment, but they will use their savings for it because they don’t believe in letting their fellow taxpayers subsidize or fully pay the bill for them. They just hope that there will eventually be some real jobs out there before they completely drain their life’s savings.

    Anyone not in this position, who hasn’t had his or her life and career destroyed in this economy should be thanking their lucky stars every single day. To anyone who thinks the long-term unemployed are lazy, just shove it. You have no freaking idea how high the REAL unemployment rate is, how bad it is out there, and what this economy has really done to people’s careers and lives.

    • S_ESQ – take a chill pill my friend and use the $#^&% keys!

      I think if you re-read the article, you might interpret it differently – deep breaths. In the crazy method that unemployment is measured, what victory the Obama camp is claiming is despite their (lack of logical) actions. Some generalizations of the population may not be representative of your community or your friends.

      Obama can’t claim his policies have improved the economy, reduced unemployment, or lowered gas prices. And that’s the point in the bizzaro world of Obama. Good leaders can identify problems and provide an environment to work toward solutions. BHO is the opposite, he has solutions in search of problems . . . he has a hammer and everything looks like a nail.

      I just saw a report that all the net new jobs (since BHO has been in office) came out of Texas. It was in a state he doesn’t perform well and in industries he doesn’t support.

      I’m lucky to be employed, but our company hasn’t given us a COLA or raise for 7 years now. Wages are stagnate and unfortunately taxes, food, and energy costs have climbed (although gas has recently come down making premium fuel costs for my 99 DeVille more affordable).

      • I think he’s perfectly valid to be angry. Republicans are ignoring the unemployment issues because the resulting decrease in wages are seen as ‘good for business.’

        Look at how the article talks about the “cost to hire” being lower. This cost is lower because wages are lower. Wages are lower because there is an oversupply of people and an undersupply of jobs. The undersupply of jobs is due to automation on all fronts – from robots in the factories to computer-voiced customer service.

        The oversupply of people is due to the loss of jobs to automation, outsourcing, as well as the influx of cheap labor (why do you think Tech companies want foreign STEM workers even when there is an oversupply of US citizens with STEM degrees? Because they’ll work 80hrs/week for their 40hr/week salary, and if they complain they lose their visa sponsorship.)

        Republicans would do well to focus on increasing job growth and quality for the people, rather than championing the death of the middle class as good for business because it ‘lowers highering costs’

    • If you want a job you can get a job anytime, anywhere, under any circumstances. Those who wait for a silver spoon to be reinserted in their mouth are spoiled and pathetic. Late 1957 was the worst time for unemployment since The Great Depression. I was a 17-year-old high school graduate too young for industrial employment, but guess what? I had THREE jobs–cooking in a restaurant, amending enlarged photo murals, and typing freight bills for a truck line at night at 5 cents per bill. The restaurant got a liquor license and being under age I lost that one, but through simple grit (remember grit?) the trucking job lasted 27 years and I ended up chief accountant. I had other jobs after that and some failed. I drew exactly two unemployment checks in my entire life. I was not only embarassed to take an unemployment check, I was appalled at how small it was. They hadn’t invented food stamps yet either. Again, I cooked in a restaurant and kept books for other businesses and prepared tax returns and never missed a house payment. I had a one-day career working in an ice cream shop owned by neighbors. Good job, good pay, but then they invented lactose intolerance and it cost me a week in bed. I’m just saying you have to put pride aside and do what it is necessaary to preserve yourself instead of waiting on someone else to do it for you. God helps them that helps themselves by the way.

  4. Love her term of “second hand laziness” — that’s definitely a thing.

    And I agree that SHE should have been the one interviewing the president, if they were going the YouTube route…