John Ransom

While the media basks in the artificial light of a 4 percent GDP print for the second quarter, jobs continue to disappoint—and so does GDP. You wouldn’t know it, however,r by the way the media covers the economy.

“The high-flying labor market showed no let-up in July,” writes USAToday, “as employers added 209,000 jobs.”

Of course economists expected a bigger gain of 238,000 jobs, but you know: Who’s counting? Numbers and math are so overrated. We have gotten to the point that a missed estimate of 30,000 jobs is no big deal, while an uptick in unemployment is good news.

“The unemployment rate rose to 6.2% from 6.1%,” continues USA Today, “the Labor Department said Friday, as 329,000 additional Americans, including many who had given up their job searches, surged back into the labor force.”

Wow, finally an Obama surge that works. Or not. It doesn’t really matter. The press will cover the good news adequately, while the press will cover-up the bad news adequately, too. It's all the same, after all. It's helping Obama, the only economy anyone should care about.

While it’s true that things have gotten better on a relative basis—that is, relative to the 2009 recession when we were shedding jobs—the economy in general is limping along with mostly self-inflicted wounds.

Obamacare, tax increases, the war on energy, and a proud disdain for economics by the administration in favor of ideology and division, are all taking a toll on the only economic indicator that really matters: People.

People don’t have jobs.

Our contributor Peter Morici, economics professor at the University of Maryland, says that unemployment is really 18 percent, rather than the official number of 6.2 percent. I calculate it a bit higher than Morici, closer to 22 or 23 percent. But the fact that our difference in unemployment estimates encompasses almost the entire government unemployment estimate tells you some of what you need to know.

Forget the numbers right now. Things are so broken that the numbers don’t tell the real story of what’s going on inside our economy.

For example, things are so good that unemployment is…going…up? Yes, in the same way that the Affordable Care Act made healthcare more affordable by driving costs up, unemployment going up—or down, or staying the same—is taken as proof positive that things are getting better.

John Ransom

John Ransom’s writings on politics and finance have appeared in the Los Angeles Business Journal, the Colorado Statesman, Pajamas Media and Registered Rep Magazine amongst others. Until 9/11, Ransom worked primarily in finance as an investment executive for NYSE member firm Raymond James and Associates, JW Charles and as a new business development executive at Mutual Service Corporation. He lives in San Diego. You can follow him on twitter @bamransom.

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