Friday, September 4, 2009

Democrat Math on Unemployment and Jobs: It Doesn't Add Up

The unemployment numbers for the month of August were released today, and the news was not good. With 466,000 new unemployed men and women last month, the total rate jumped to 9.7% and 14.9 million people are now out of work. This is the highest level in 26 years - and it raises several questions in my mind.

First, how honest are Democrats being about the total number of folks who lost their jobs last month? The Bureau of Labor Statistics press release said that 216,000 non-farm payroll jobs were lost and a total of 466,000 people became unemployed. Yet in a press release just issued by House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer, he states that only 216,000 jobs were lost. Well, which is it? BLS gives the total number, and House Democrats are only focused on part of that? Forgive me, but I thought that through all of the last eight months of discussion by Democrats about being concerned for all Americans they were genuinely concerned about all Americans. Why aren't they including all of the unemployed in their figures? Are they only concerned about non-farm workers?

Oh, wait - I know (and it brings me to point 2): it undercuts their claims of having saved or created 750,000 jobs since the stimulus bill was signed into law. You remember - the stimulus bill that was going to save or create millions of jobs and keep unemployment below 8%. Vice President Biden was touting that fact in a speech earlier this week, but with today's news it seems to fall flat. As I commented on another site, my math is not great so I'm having a difficult time figuring out how the saving and creating of 750,000 jobs since the stimulus was passed stil results in a 9.7% rate and nearly 470,000 additional jobs lost in just the last month.

Either we're creating a helluva lot more jobs that are balanced out by the jobs lost - ending with a net of 750,000 - or the recovery folks are as bad at math as I am. My money is the latter.

So how do we fix the problem and get folks back to work? 14.9 million unemployed is 14.9 million too many, but under-reporting numbers in press releases and running fast and loose with the statistics in speeches doesn't help. If we don't truly know - or if at least members of Congress and the Administration only say what they want us to hear - how bad things are, then we won't be able to determine how large the solution needs to be. Obviously, the vaunted stimulus bill wasn't the answer. Democrats get points for effort, but it's not something they can solve alone - a fix is going to take efforts at real bipartisanship and real cooperation, not simply using the words to impress constituents back home.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Here Comes Jimmy T!! Traficant, That Is...

Politics has been too drab and boring lately - no catchy lines, no heated arguments, no controversial incidents. Okay, so that's not true, but it's never too late to liven things up even more, just to keep us all entertained.

Enter Jim Traficant. Those suits (denim)! That hair (which he claimed was cut with a weed whacker). Seven years after being expelled from the House of Representatives and sent to prison for various and sundry forms of corruption and abuse of power, he's back!! Later today, he'll walk out the prison doors a free man, ready to tackle the world once again. I for one hopes he does not go gentle into that good night; he's too much of an entertaining character to deprive the world of his wackiness and incredible quotes.

Forgotten some of what he said over the years? Here's a stroll down memory lane.

"We are not playing monopoly down here. These are taxpayer dollars. Enough is enough. Last I heard it was Uncle Sam, not Uncle Sucker. I yield back the balance of the hard-working jobs that the steel industry is losing." - discussing IMF bailouts with American tax dollars, October 5, 1998

"The last I heard, NATO did not work for the Western Union. It is time for NATO to do their job. It is time for France to step up once in a while. It is time for Europe to help us out, and it is time for independence in Kosovo. One last thing, Mr. Speaker. Milosevic must be stopped. It is about time for France to do their job, too." - commenting on the genocide in Kosovo, October 1, 1998

"Washington does not need more lobbyists and lawyers to advise Congress. I honestly believe that a proctologist is in order down here. I yield back whatever common sense is left." - talking about fast track procedures, September 25, 1998

"Mr. Speaker, I have one question for these wise guys to constipate over: How can some thing come from no thing? And while they digest that, Mr. Speaker, let us tell it like it is. Put these super-cerebral master debaters in some foxhole with bombs bursting all around them, and I guarantee they will not be praying to Frankenstein." - discussing scientists believing in God, August 3, 1998

"Free trade my ascot, Mr. Speaker. This is a free ride and a free for all for China, who is gobbling up our national security secrets faster than the President can down a Big Mac and a box of fries. Think about that." - talking about China, free trade, and security, June 24, 1998

And finally, one of my personal favorites, uttered after he was expelled from the House: "I will take with me a file, chisel and a knife. I'll try to get some major explosives to fight my way out. Then when I get out, I'll grab a sword like Maximus Meridius and as a gladiator, I'll stab people in the crotch."

Speaker Pelosi, the Democrats need Jim Traficant. Congress needs Jim Traficant. The American people need Jim Traficant (even if it is just so that we have something further with which to amuse us). Something tells me when he gets in the car and drives away from prison today, it won't be the last we've heard of the, umm, distinguished gentleman from Ohio.