Greg Dworkin is one of the front page bloggers at the Daily Kos. He is also a physician and a friend of mine. He is also a Newtown, Ct resident. We discuss the need for gun control in this country. Yes, we need to talk about other factors, including metal health issues, but Newtown clearly revealed the need for gun control. Remember that the first victim of the Newtown shooting was a gun owner. She was shot with her own gun while she was sleeping. Having more guns isn’t the solution. If having more guns were the solution, then Nancy Lanza would be alive today. She had plenty.
But if anything has been learned since [the election], it’s that the president’s power in Washington remains severely constrained by a Republican opposition establishment that is bitter about its losses, unmoved by Mr. Obama’s victory and unwilling to compromise on social policy, economics or foreign affairs. House Republicans, in particular, argue that they won elections as well and they see their ability to retain control of the House as granting them the right to stick to their own views even when they clash strongly with the president’s.
So the Times is calling them bitter and uncompromising dead-enders? Accurate observation.
With all of the overheated rhetoric, one would think that something truly sinister has happened. The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that employment rose by 114,000 jobs in the month of September. The unemployment rate fell to 7.8%. Before I get into the world of political craziness, let’s just look at these numbers for second.
For the last several years, the unemployment rate has been slowly but steadily decreasing. Last month, the unemployment rate was 8.1%. In May, the unemployment rate was 8.2%. In January, the unemployment rate was 8.3%. We’ve seen a slow but steady decline in the unemployment rate since October of 2009. At that time, the unemployment rate hit 10%.
The economy added 114,000 jobs. Notice, in the above graph, which depicts the total number of Americans employed (nonfarm) has again steadily increased since late 2009. There’s no sudden change in the graph. We’ve seen slow and steady progress.
Now, I am not saying that the economy is perfect. I’m not saying that everything is fine. Instead, I’m saying that whatever policies and economic environment that Barack Obama and his administration have created has caused a slow and steady improvement in our economic situation. As the Economic Policy Institute points out, we are still in a 9.2 million jobs hole. This means that we still have a lot of work to do. It means that there are still millions of Americans who are looking for work and can’t find it. This means that we have to reinvigorate the American manufacturing industry. We need to make stuff. We need to make stuff that Americans will buy. We need to make stuff that the world will buy. We need to make that stuff here in the United States. Continue reading Unemployment Rate and Political Insanity→
Are we better off today than we were four years ago? Okay, let’s do this. The campaign for the president of the United States officially starts now. I hate progressives being wishy-washy. It is time for us to step up. Paul Ryan threw a simple 70 mile an hour pitch right down the center of the plate only to have several progressives foul it off. Dammit. We’ve got to do better. This was easy. Paul Ryan asked whether we are better off now than we were four years ago. This is a no-brainer.
First let’s look at the deficit which the GOP likes to talk about all of the time. Who has piled up the debt?
It is the Republicans who have burdened us with debt. Trillions of dollars of Republican debt. Let me just underline what the above graph tells us. George W. Bush saddled the economy with $5.07 trillion in debt. Barack Obama has come nowhere near this lofty goal.
Now, on to the all-important question, are we better off today than we were four years ago? The answer is a big and loud Hell, Yeah! Our economic output was actually negative when Barack Obama took office. We’ve seen real GDP growth go from negative to positive and remain continuously positive for the last ten quarters.
Finally, and most importantly, when Barack Obama took office our economy was losing over 600,000 jobs per month. We’ve seen private sector growth (really important to Republicans) for 29 straight months. It is time for Democrats, progressives and other liberally leaning allies to get our heads in the game. When the Republicans serve up a softball, we must hit it out of the park – every time. So, the answer to the question as to whether we are better off now than we were four years ago – (with a smile) Hell, Yes!