Jobs – Jobs – Jobs! … or is it really just Talking Point Agendas that gets presidents elected/reelected?


Do we really know or care how economics work in our daily lives?

Or do we just want magic to happen and to not be bothered by the thought of it all?!

Please, just sell us some good talking points. Give us some more happy talk. Give us some more trash talk that we can believe in!

President Obama is taking repeated butt kicks over his seeming inability to jumpstart the jobs market. Yet even with having to deal with the Great Recession’s fallout, President Obama statistically has a better track record in the jobs department than does his predecessor, President Bush.

—–>> Reality is that both presidents Bush and Obama have experienced the same phenomena when it comes to jobs creation. Jobs creation has been sluggish since 2001 and there seems to be few ideas for jumpstarting jobs growth that actually yields more than momentary results — and generally unimpressive results. We can do more with less and we are. Welcome to the future.

Erstwhile conservative commentator and former GOP Congressman Joe Scarborough posted the jobs-created-by-president chart below on his Facebook page, along with the comments that follow the chart.

Jobs by president 1960-2012 - Joe Scarborough

“Job growth is obviously what everybody talks about as a major factor in these elections…[Bill] Clinton is sort of the gold standard with 9.9% job growth. And then you see both Obama and Bush 43 essentially with no job growth…You see a mixed picture of presidents who got re-elected and how the job growth corresponds. What’s not on here is Jimmy Carter, who actually had the best job growth of all of them. He had 12% job growth during his first four years and still didn’t get re-elected.”
Joe Scarborough, Oct 18, 2012

If a president deserves credit for jobs creation, do they deserve that credit because of their policies? … or do they deserve it because of their use of the bully pulpit to push change in a given direction? … or do they deserve credit only if we like their partisan left-or-right highest ranking most popular talking points?

Jimmy Carter is considered a weak president and yet Carter is the platinum standard by which jobs growth could or perhaps should be judged.

Bill Clinton is universally the recipient of good will for strong jobs creation during his tenure, and President Reagan is held in the highest esteem by the Center-Right even though Reagan only comes in third place for jobs creation during his time in office.

Let’s consider policy. Policy is why we say that we elect presidents. We know President Obama’s record: weak jobs growth but there is now stability. So is the New Romney better equipped than the Old Romney? When Romney took office as governor of Massachusetts his state ranked #37 in jobs growth and by the end of his term Massachusetts was #47. Yet we hear constantly that Romney has the experience and the business background to grow jobs. He is a businessman, a CEO. So what happened in Massachusetts? Do policies actually matter?

The impact of policy adjusts itself over time. What works during one time period may completely flop the next.

As well, the productiveness of a policy even during the same presidency may only have a very short impact, positive or negative. When Bush jumpstarted the economy in late 2006 his tax policies policies produced only two quarters of above average jobs growth and then jobs growth returned to its downward path — even though the amount of money coming into and flowing into the economy continued to grow.

One of the reasons that jobs growth under Bush 43 was so poor (essentially the same as under Obama) was that our economy had adjusted itself to take advantage of technologic efficiencies while also getting rid of a large portion of manual labor (shifting those jobs overseas).

The math that bit Bush and Obama will also bite whomever is president during the next four years. We have embraced a policy path that puts profits before people. That may be good for folks at the Walmart, K-mart and Target checkout counters but it is not producing jobs.

If it is all about Jobs Jobs Jobs! then maybe we need to acknowledge that perhaps we have broken the system and need to reconsider the entire concept of work, compensation and jobs growth.

 

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1 Comment

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One response to “Jobs – Jobs – Jobs! … or is it really just Talking Point Agendas that gets presidents elected/reelected?

  1. George S. Harris

    While I will never be as good at expressing myself as you are Bill, I think we are on the same page. We have to find a way to bring back the jobs we shipped off to elsewhere or perhaps we job share–shorter hours but relatively same pay but more people working, which I presume could mean higher prices to compensate for increased labor cost. Or do we accept 8% unemployment as the new 4% and increase the government dole, which means higher taxes? How do we get the jobs back? Lower corporate taxes with the hope of getting businesses to return? How were we able to have a tax rate that was nearly triple what it is for some folks and still have growth? With appropriate revenue, not borrowed money, government spending can create jobs–we’ve done it before. Can something like the old WPA , CCC and other such government run programs spur the economy but keep the profit motive out of it so te tendency for fraud might be lessened? I wish I knew the anwers.

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