If you are unemployed you know the story. After a while, suggestions from friends and family on finding a job start to sound less helpful and seem to include a trace of blame. The weeks pass. You hear advice about lowering expectations, about limited options because of your age or career path, and about finding something to bridge the gap and bring in some cash. Someone tells you that there must be jobs available because they saw a “help wanted” sign in a storefront across town, a position that pays enough to buy food after you lose your house. You do not hear the same remarks from unemployed acquaintances pursuing their own pointless job searches. They know the score. The weeks go by. Your fears are confirmed. Time is your enemy, destroying your chances of ever working again.
Job creation will not help the unemployed. The term is a hoax that no longer has anything to do with a growing economy and an optimistic business sector. Job creation means federal intervention to control the economy and pay for work. This is Obama economics at its very worst, an abysmal failure that has consigned millions of Americans to membership in our newest lower class.
In addition to achieving near-record sustained high unemployment, Barack Obama is presiding over some of the longest work searches in our history. Ironically, as the unemployed are forced to devote more time to hunting for jobs their chances of success diminish. After 27 weeks of searching for work, the chances of finding a job are 40% less than at five weeks of unemployment.¹
Unemployed Americans deserve better than lies and election year misrepresentations. Is there a dark, cynical contest among Cabinet members to best each other’s claims about the Obama administration’s success with the economy? How many times did Labor Secretary Hilda Solis think she could stuff the word “added” into her review of April’s jobs numbers, and how does she justify the administration taking credit for 62,000 new jobs that she claims pay well while over 5 million Americans are jobless for the long-term? Solis’ recitation of the president’s campaign platform blames Congress and suggests that we hire public employees and spend on education, infrastructure, and clean energy. She never mentions that the only reason the administration had success with the unemployment rate in April is that more Americans gave up hope of finding a job.²
There is little to misconstrue in the Labor Department’s April numbers. The employment situation is still a train wreck. 2.4 million Americans are not counted as unemployed because they gave up looking for work. 7.9 million work part time because they can’t find anything better. 41.3% of the jobless are long-term unemployed,³ scheduled to drop off of the radar entirely when they make the decision to stop wasting their time looking for a job.
We do not hear a lot of boasting from the White House about its success growing a lower class of unemployed and underemployed Americans. Instead, we get job creation policies that select groups of supporters to spend on and PR campaigns to convince the public that America’s future depends on their contributions. Explaining away March’s jobs numbers, the head of the Council of Economic Advisers claimed that “…the President’s Budget proposal to increase and modernize the nation’s infrastructure is well targeted to support the economy today and in the future.”4 For Americans not versed in references to special interests, this means spending on union labor. We heard the same line of thinking from the president last week when he spoke to an AFL-CIO building trades group (see: Unions Vital to Campaign to Deceive Middle Class Workers), and again yesterday morning as he manipulated the Afghanistan situation into an excuse to spend more on his campaign favorites.
Lying about supporting small businesses while propping up some of the president’s most costly and damaging supporters like unions, public employees, immigrants’ rights groups, and struggling clean energy companies has brought us to where we are now. The president and his Cabinet are not deterred. They will continue to spread the word about their successes to Americans who polls show will buy what they are being sold in numbers sufficient to keep Barack Obama in the White House. A while back Civil Candor made the dubious suggestion that Congress consider a suicide tax credit for the families of jobless Americans who have had enough and want to lower the odds of their fellow unemployed finding work (see: Ten Demands on Behalf of Fed Up, Pissed Off Americans). We are not there yet, but for the millions looking for jobs it must feel like Washington is doing everything in its power to get us there.