The ‘One Million Job’ Self-Deception
A question on every American voter’s mind is:
“Who will fix the economy and create the most jobs – President Obama or Mitt Romney?”
All other issues, though important, pale in comparison.
That was on everyone’s mind during last night’s 2nd presidential debate. The first question asked by college student Jeremy Epstein was how each candidate could assure him that “I will be able to sufficiently support myself after I graduate?”
College students are not the only ones asking about making a livable wage.
In answer to Jeremy’s question last night the first words of reassurance from President Obama were:
What I want to do is build on the 5 million jobs that we’ve created over the last 30 months in the private sector alone
– President Barack Obama, 2nd Presidential Debate, 10/17/2012
With these opening few words the President reveals his profound self-deception about the scope of the jobs crisis gripping this country. Prerequisite to curing the jobs problem, it is first necessary to understand its magnitude.
We are in a jobs depression. The President is in denial of it.
As stated above, President Obama’s denial has morphed into a one million job self-deception.
The Jobs Depression
The jobs depression directly affects around 30 million American workers and their families.
It goes far beyond Jeremy Epstein’s immediate job prospects. It isn’t cured by making college more affordable.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 23 million unemployed and underemployed Americans are seeking livable wages. The BLS says that unemployment rate stands at 14.7%. It is down 2.5 percentage points from two years ago, but that is no comfort to the 23 million families struggling to pay the bills.
Another 5 to 7 million more disillusioned American workers have lost their jobs and have simply given up seeking work all together.
Everyone knows the country is in a jobs depression. It is all around us. It is either in your own home now or your neighbor’s home. Just open your eyes, you’ll see it.
What 5 Million Jobs?
President Obama told Jeremy and America that he wants to build on the above mentioned 5 million jobs. It is the same thing he told America in the first presidential debate two weeks ago.
The President’s above statement ends with the word “alone”. That implies there are other gains as well. There aren’t.
The problem with the President’s claim is it simply is not supported by the facts. According to the BLS, there have been 4.6, not 5 million private-sector jobs created in the U.S. in the last 30 months.
Worse yet, instead of more job gains as the President implies, the rest of the economy outside the private-sector lost -518,000 jobs in the last 30 months.
That means there have been 4.1 million jobs created in the last 30 months instead of 5 million. That is a big difference.
Worse still, according to the BLS, most of the job gains last month that dropped the official unemployment rate to 7.8% were part-time jobs taken for “economic reasons”. In other words, people took part-time jobs because they were desperate, probably because all their unemployment benefits had run out.
The President has convinced himself he has created a million more new jobs than actually exist.
Never mind that the private-sector created the few jobs there actually are. Private-sector growth results more from the efforts of hard working Americas and entrepreneurs than government economic policy.
We are in a jobs depression.
New job creation over the last 30 months has averaged +136,000/month. That is barely the rate expected from population growth. Worker victims of the mortgage bubble collapse in 2008 have not found jobs. They have been left behind and ignored.
Nothing very helpful has been done to create jobs for long-term displaced workers who lost their jobs in the Great Recession through no fault of their own. The lucky ones retired. The rest, sadly, just dropped out of the workforce because they can’t find work. Their marketable skills have rusted away like America’s empty factories.
Jeremy Epstein will soon join their ranks when he graduates from college if things continue as they are.
Yet the President doesn’t seem to get it. He has convinced himself things are better than they are. He has convinced himself the little that he is doing now is enough to recover the economy and miraculously create jobs for all who need them. It isn’t.
President Obama wants to stay the course. Can you and Jeremy afford to wait for it to work?