The economy shed 36,000 jobs last month, and that was trumpeted in the press as good news. Well, after your house has burned down I suppose it’s good news that the flames may finally be flickering out. But once you realize that it will take 11 million or more new jobs to get us back to where we were when the recession began, you begin to understand that we’re not really making any headway at all.
It’s also widely known by now that the official employment statistics drastically understate the problem. Once we take off the statistical rose-colored glasses, we’re left with the awful reality of millions upon millions of Americans who have lost — or are losing — their jobs, their homes, their small businesses, and their hopes for a brighter future.
Instead of focusing with unwavering intensity on this increasingly tragic situation, making it their top domestic priority, President Obama and the Democrats on Capitol Hill have spent astonishing amounts of time and energy, and most of their political capital, on an obsessive quest to pass a health care bill.
Health care reform is important. But what the public has wanted and still badly needs above all else from Mr. Obama and the Democrats are bold efforts to put people back to work. A major employment rebound is the only real way to alleviate the deep economic anxiety that has gripped so many Americans. Unaddressed, that anxiety inevitably evolves into dread and then anger.
But while the nation is desperate for jobs, jobs, jobs, the Democrats have spent most of the Obama era chanting health care, health care, health care.
The talk inside the Beltway, that super-incestuous, egomaniacal, reality-free zone, is that President Obama and the Democrats have a messaging or public relations problem. We’re being told — and even worse, Mr. Obama and the Democrats are being told — that their narrative is not getting through. In other words, the wonderfulness of all that they’ve done is somehow not being recognized by the slow-to-catch-on masses.
Of course, he goes on to whine about how the GOP, on the other hand, only exist to make sure the Democrats “fail” in their agenda (which, while somewhat misleading, suits me just fine for the moment), so in the end, the column ends up being like most columns in the NYT (including and especially anything written by David Brooks) which are critical of the Obama administration: nothing more than desperate pleas for the smartest, coolest administration evah to, like, fix everything, dammit! Because, of course, that’s what the government is supposed to do.
Tom Maguire responds:
However, Mr. Herbert can’t quite get himself to the point of noticing that the endless Obama push for remaking three huge sectors of the economy – health care, energy, and financial services – is creating the sort of uncertainty that impedes a recovery. Over to McQ of Q&O:
Actually they [jobs] will materialize by themselves – unless government gets in the way, imposes new taxes (health care reform and cap-and-trade, etc.), more onerous regulation and otherwise keeps the business climate roiled and uncertain. Thus far, that’s precisely what the administration and Congress have managed to this point.
I don’t see Team Obama embracing this perspective until after November, when newly empowered Republican chairman can distract them with madcap investigations.
Nor do I.
But I do look forward to Herbert’s next column, in which I hope he sees in Democrat healthcare “reform” what he saw in the “Celebrity” ad the McCain campaign used against Obama back during the 2008 election season: a “phallic symbol.” After all, in essence that’s what Obama’s healthcare “reform” really is: An instrument of sorts that will be used to “stick it” to the American people over and over and over again.
Ooops. Was that too crude?