Down is Up!

The Obama Administration, looking for anything to give the President’s campaign a boost after a lack-luster debate performance October 3rd, hailed the newly lowered unemployment rate, while those in the Romney camp generally ignored the numbers and GOP faithful cried “foul”. The fact of the matter is it really does not matter in the campaign scheme of things.

Consider this: The holiday season is coming, large retail outlets are already hiring for their most important sales days, Christmas decor is already in “big box” store displays, and the government is ramping up for the January 2014 advent of the Affordable Healthcare Act. In the latter instance, agencies cannot wait until the last moment to staff and train employees. (If Congress swiftly dumps Obamacare, it will be interesting to see just how many “new” employees are actually banished.)

A conspiracy theory forged ahead after former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, a Republican, tweeted his skepticism five minutes after the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced the unemployment rate. “Unbelievable jobs numbers”, he said in his tweet, “These Chicago guys will do anything..can’t debate so change numbers.”

But, all of this really does not matter if you consider 26 million of the total workforce is unemployed, factoring in those who simply quit looking. If you look at sectors of the labor force, all of this “generalized” reporting hides much of the truth. The figure for unemployed young Americans, those 18-29 for example, is nearly 12%.

In my opinion, any unemployment above 5% is unacceptable for the United States. What really matters is whether the economy is robust. By any measure, it is not. True, one can point to a modest up-tick in home sales, some areas of industry, and an especially large number of federal employees have been added, but the economy by any historical measure is tepid at best. History demonstrates low taxes and business unfettered by stringent regulation is best for a developing economy.

One can only hope the “lame duck” session of the Congress between the November 6 election, and the first of the year will not yield stupidity on the part of disappointed office seekers, and the new Congress will tackle our problems with resolve.