Want Fries With That?
May 10, 2011 by Ben Crystal
As George W. Bush entered the stretch run of his 2004 reelection bid, the national unemployment rate hovered around 5.4 percent. Any economist worth his slide rule (sit down, Paul Krugman) would agree that 5.4 percent is barely a Joe Biden hairplug’s breadth above nominal zero. Bush’s economic “strategery” in the years following the tech sector dive and the plunge of the housing and construction markets was no small accomplishment – especially considering Bush spent taxpayer money like a second wife.
Americans were working. And the Democratic Party, growing desperate after a few years of minority-party status, was furious. So the Democrats went retro and reintroduced the old 1980s McJobs canard. They couldnâ€™t run against Bush on unemployment, so they ran against Bush on the quality of employment, claiming the jobs created by the Bush economic plan were low-paying, minimal-advancement work in the service sector. The McJobs strategy didnâ€™t work, at least partially because those willing to work were glad to be able to do so.
Late last week, the employment figures ventured onto the front page, and they were hardly a cause for celebration outside corporate media outlets. According to the Department of Labor, the national unemployment rate is just north of 9 percent. Thatâ€™s poor. Thatâ€™s also likely an understatement. President Barack Obamaâ€™s Department of Labor has a habit of initially lowballing unemployment numbers, then quietly releasing â€śrevisedâ€ť (upward) figures once the President has taken a curtain call. In fact, the Department of Labor engaged in that exact sort of economic subterfuge (read: lying) in both March and April.
But letâ€™s examine the â€śrecoveryâ€ť which Obama and the Democrats have foisted upon us. Stipulating for the sake of discussion that the April employment figures are more accurate than they were in February and March, then the economy added just shy of 250,000 jobs in April. The Democratic Party is so overjoyed by this news that Democrats are shouting of â€śObamanomicâ€ť success from the highest rooftops. But they are leaving something out.
Of the jobs â€ścreatedâ€ť during the most recent reporting period, 224,000 were in the private services sector. Nearly half of those â€“ 103,000 â€“ were in the tertiary economic sectors: retail, restaurant and leisure services. That means they were the same McJobs the Democratic Party reviled during the Bush Administration. (Authorâ€™s note: Despite rumors to the contrary, the McJobs in question do not reflect the recent McDonaldâ€™s hiring binge. Those 60,000+ jobs came after the reporting period, meaning Obama will take credit for them next month.)
Fewer than a tenth of the new jobs â€ścreatedâ€ť were in construction or manufacturing. Even as Obamaâ€™s stewardship relegates the dollar to the sort of monetary status enjoyed by such noteworthy currencies as the mighty zloty, the manufacturing sector is not rebounding as it should with export costs being so low.
You might assume Obama would respond to the flagging primary and secondary economic sectors by proactively working to improve economic conditions. You might be wrong.
We are all aware of Obamaâ€™s hostility to the mining and oil industries, except for those headquartered in Brazil. Not only is Obama not leading any cheers for American manufacturing, he is doing the exact opposite. The National Labor Relations Board is pursuing action against Boeingâ€™s plan to open a facility in South Carolina. The NLRB, under the auspices of recess-appointed Big Labor puppets like Lafe Solomon and Service Employees International Union thug Craig Becker (who needed a recess appointment because the Senate rejected him), is of the opinion that the aircraft manufacturer should be precluded from opening its new 787 Dreamliner plant in the Palmetto State because its workers enjoy the freedom to work without being forced to join the union-thug horde.
Following an economic downturn engineered by four years of Congressional Democrat mismanagement and two years of a President who is almost as competent as, say, one of the has-beens on â€śCelebrity Apprentice,â€ť the most recent jobs report indicates the only growing sector is in McJobs, with which the Democratic Party is suddenly comfortable. Obama responds by punishing the very workers he claims to represent.