The problem with our president is that it's really hard for him to see the rest of the country while he’s vacationing on farthest extremes at Martha’s Vineyard or at the other end of the 5,100 miles it takes to get to Hawaii. And when he’s not vacationing at those extremes, he’s yapping it up at the other extreme with folks who can afford $35,800 for a presidential fundraising event.
For people willing to plunk down that kind of cash, things in the US-of-A are probably going swimmingly.
For the rest of us? Not so much.
There’s a big freakin’ hole in our economy that’s not just theoretical, but actual. And the arugula prices at Whole Foods are obscuring Obama’s view of the missing part of our economy.
On the 7th of January we wrote about how the unemployment numbers have been skewed downward because 4.4 million workers who would normally be counted as a part of the workforce have been dropped from the labor pool due to lower workforce participation rates. Those rates have plummeted since Obama became president, reaching levels that we have not seen in any recession since the 1980s.
In the meantime, economically illiterate reporters have been spreading the good news that unemployment is down to 8.5 percent, despite other indicators that the economy is either stalled or slowing.
Obama celebrated the decline by saying: “"We're making progress. We're moving in the right direction," according to the New York Daily News.
Um, no, we’re not.
Initial unemployment claims recently showed an increase that surprised economists even after adjusting for seasonal factors. While the advance number of 399,000 initial claims is down from the prior year by about 38,000 jobs, initial claims tend to later be revised upward under this administration, especially when the number is so close to the psychologically important 400,000-claim level that characterizes a weak economy.