December’s unemployment numbers are out…

I seem to do a post like this once a month, whenever the numbers come out.  Since I haven’t visited the topic in a month, I need to remind everyone why job numbers from November or December are more important than the same numbers from, say, June:

During the holiday season, retail is supposed to gain jobs.  Lots of them.  All those temporary retail holiday positions traditionally added during November and December are supposed to swell employment numbers.

With that in mind, let’s get a look at the bad news

Chaos! “U.S. loses another 524,000 jobs” [in December].  That article notes nobody is building shit anymore, either: “The nation also lost 101,000 construction jobs in December — and 632,000 in the entire year.”

Destruction! “Total 2008 job loss: 2.6 million.” Biggest job losses since WWII.

Pathos!  “US job losses hit record in 2008.”

Hope?  “Stocks turn high on monthly jobs report.” Analysts expected worse: “Investors were showing some relief following a government report that the economy lost fewer jobs in December than feared.”

Well that’s encouraging.  Slightly.  Maybe.  Maybe not…

If you want to hear something unencouraging, the unemployment rate is now at 7.2%.  Incidentally, unemployment was at 7.5% in 1992 when another Bush left office…  WTF is it with this family, anyway?  Can we please never, ever elect another Bush president again?  But with our interest rates about as low as they can go, housing collapsing, credit crunching (despite low interest rates), the U.S. staring down a 2009 contraction of the retail sector, and two wars to fund, our position in 2009 is not the same as 1993 — it’s worse.

What’s to be done?  Well, what would FDR do?  FDR might say, “You know America, there’s a lot of infrastructure that can be repaired.”  Repairing infrastructure is cheap too, when compared to the consequences.  Imagine the billions saved if New Orleans didn’t have to drown…  Imagine the billions saved if an interstate highway bridge in Minnesota didn’t collapse (especially when the government knew about the structural deficiencies of the bridge but chose to blow millions on a new fucking baseball stadium instead).  Simply put, a massive program of infrastructure repair will create jobs to job stat the economy while fixing America for the better, which beats a tax cut.  How many tax cuts have we had this past decade?  And what’s our unemployment rate now?  That shows you how well tax cuts work.

If something isn’t done now, the economy will slide further downward.  Retail stores that were in trouble before the Christmas shopping season are still in trouble, and we’re going to see a lot of them close this year.  Sure, retail is the bottom of the barrel as far as employment goes, but these are still jobs gone — the unemployment rate threatens to break 10% by 2010.  This rhetoric is not unfounded fear, it is reality.  Obama and Congress cannot wait to put an action plan into place.

So will Obama do the right thing?  Krugman discusses this today, and, errrr…

But Mr. Obama’s prescription doesn’t live up to his diagnosis. The economic plan he’s offering isn’t as strong as his language about the economic threat. In fact, it falls well short of what’s needed. […]

To close a gap of more than $2 trillion — possibly a lot more, if the budget office projections turn out to be too optimistic — Mr. Obama offers a $775 billion plan. And that’s not enough. […]

But only about 60 percent of the Obama plan consists of public spending. The rest consists of tax cuts — and many economists are skeptical about how much these tax cuts, especially the tax breaks for business, will actually do to boost spending. (A number of Senate Democrats apparently share these doubts.)

But, of course, for such an economic stimulus bill to go through Congress, massive tax cuts need to be added so crybaby, know-nothing Republicans who got us into this fucking fiscal mess won’t throw another hissy fit about leftism and socialism and how we’re all evil and blah blah blah.  So I almost can’t blame Obama for his current stance.


Obama’s the one who wanted to be president.  I tend to doubt the sanity of anyone who wanted to become president after the mess Bush has created, but more power to Obama for having the testicular fortitude to take up a task I couldn’t even imagine touching.  And I know he’s trying to unite America, govern from the center, etc…  But now isn’t the time for games.  We’re facing a real crisis, a recession which could turn into a depression, and it was caused by them.  Obama cannot allow appeasement to Republicans, in the name of bipartisanship, to compromise our economy.  He must do the right thing before it’s too late.

[Note: Originally, I somehow misspelled “unemployment” in the headline as “ememployment”.  Don’t ask me how that happened.  Anyways, the “em” headline got picked up by Memeorandum, so now I feel like a tool.  I swear I know how to spell!  Kinda…]

2 Responses to “December’s unemployment numbers are out…”

  1. Tim Fralick says:

    MMM I like the encouragement you put forth. I have seen to much gloom. I makes me a little sick to see how people interpret the coming years as just dire. Can this president-elect do anything really? I have hope more than any other emotion at this point.

  2. tas says:

    rolling eyes Take your strawman arguments and go fuck sheep.

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