Sunday, June 3, 2012

John Cassidy: "Jobs Slowdown Could Cost Obama The Election"

The third straight month of disappointing employment growth is a potential game changer for the presidential election. We recall how the tanking of the economy (combined with McCain's ridiculous choice of a running mate) sealed Obama's victory in 2008. In November, the election will again turn on the economy–specifically, jobs. Obama is dependent on Congress, including the GOP-controlled House, to help revive the economy. Instead, the Republicans are crowing about the jobs report and view economic weakness as their ticket to the White House. Romney offers nothing but tax cuts for the wealthy, austerity for the rest of us, deregulation and military spending–a repeat of the failed Bush policies. Regardless, a population anxious about jobs and subject to a barrage of ads by Karl Rove's Crossroads, backed by billions of dollars following the Supreme Court's disgraceful Citizens United decision, just may award the presidency to Romney. Writing in The New Yorker, John Cassidy (above) focused on the danger to the president in "Jobs Slowdown Could Cost Obama The Election":

...the likelihood of a Romney victory went up considerably...with the release of a shockingly bad jobs report.

...from President Obama’s perspective, this was a truly horrible jobs report. Nobody, and I mean nobody, was expecting the May figure for growth in payrolls to come in as low as it did: sixty-nine thousand. And nobody was expecting the April figure—at a hundred and fifteen thousand already pretty anemic—to be slashed by nearly fifty thousand, to seventy-seven thousand.

With the May unemployment rate ticking up from 8.1 per cent to 8.2 per cent, the White House’s misery was virtually complete. Talk of a new recession is overblown, but the economy has clearly stalled at a very awkward moment for Obama. Between January and March, it created two hundred and twenty-six thousand jobs a month, according to the Labor Department’s payroll survey. In April and May, this figure fell by two thirds—to seventy-three thousand.

...It isn’t as if the Republican nominee-elect has a credible solution to the jobs crisis. He doesn’t. His fifty-nine point economic plan, which combines drill-drill-drill with tax reform, the repeal of Obamacare, and long-term fiscal retrenchment, would have little or no impact on the unemployment rate. And if he gave into the Republican right and started slashing federal spending straight away, he could well bring on another recession. But when things are bad, challengers are held to a lower standard than incumbents. The “time for a change” argument often resonates more strongly with voters than the incumbent’s critique of his opponent’s plans.

No comments: