Hillary Clinton found the latest job creation numbers hard to tally with Obama’s claims that the economy is just great. According to The Wall Street Journal, the creation of a mere 38,000 new jobs in May is disappointing for Clinton and Obama. A deeper look into the economy reveals what at least half of the United States population is well aware of. The American economic recovery under President Obama has been overstated in the media and far from universal in nature.
Joblessness is still a huge problem, despite a 4.7 percent unemployment rate. The plunge in unemployment this month reflects that another 450,000 Americans left the labor force, failing to continually look for work. Many of these are people who didn’t find jobs and eventually found it hopeless to keep looking at this time. The labor force participation rate is currently only 62.60 percent. That means that only 62.60 percent of adult Americans are either working or still actively seeking employment according to Trading Economics. The labor force participation rate is at its lowest mark since the ’70s when incomes were high and many women stayed at home as housewives while only the husband was the breadwinner. That is certainly not part of the picture now, though the retirement of baby boomers does play a factor.
Hillary Clinton has remained in lockstep with President Obama throughout his presidency, and ideologically, they are extremely similar according to Market Watch. In her campaign, Hillary has refused to break ranks with Obama, pointing to his successes with pride and doggedly denying any failures in his policies. For better or worse, Mrs. Clinton has made his image her image. The Wall Street Journal quoted Douglas Holtz-Eakin, economic policy director for John McCain in 2008, on the subject of this month’s slump in job creation.
“The timing is especially unfortunate for Democrats because the president has just declared that this is a great economy.”
Hillary Clinton could have chosen to rely on her husband’s nearly perfect record on the economy. Hillary could honestly point to his amazing success, but Mrs. Clinton rarely chooses to. In January of 2000, as President Bill Clinton started his last year in office, prior to handing the Oval Office to G. W. Bush, the labor participation rate was at a record high of 67.30 percent. According to the St. Louis Federal Reserve, 64.6 percent of the entire population was working in those record-breaking times. Teens, retirees, men, and women had jobs. Jobs were easy to find and the economy was flourishing.
President Obama has, in fairness, inherited a lot of the economic problems he still faces. When he took office, the economy was in free fall because of the housing bubble and the decline of American industry. All the graphs of various economic indicators show January of 2009 on a long vertical line with little forward momentum just as displayed by the St. Louis Federal Reserve graph of the civilian employment to population ratio. The economic freefall shown on this and most graphs continued from March of 2007 until January of 2010.
Hillary Clinton knows President Obama did not cause the current economic crisis, but his policies have failed to effectively resolve the suffering of most Americans impacted by the loss of homes and jobs. Mrs. Clinton’s refusal to acknowledge the continuing recession is not helping her image at all, especially not when there is tangible evidence to the contrary, such as the slowing in job creation in May.
Hillary Clinton has repeatedly taken on the task of coloring the past eight years as great, but Americans on the losing end of the last eight years tend to find her discussion of the topic completely false. It could be one of the reasons for her high disapproval rating. Many of the Americans who have lost homes, jobs, and dignity during President Obama’s presidency find her seemingly false utopian position offensive and enraging.
Perhaps Hillary Clinton believes the stock market is still the best economic indicator, but logically it has little to do with American prosperity anymore. In the past corporate success meant more jobs, higher wages, and better working conditions. Now it means more Asian industrial workers get a few dollars a day, and American retail workers continue to make $7.25 an hour.
Jobless rates, ever increasing economic inequality, and poverty have typified President Obama’s eight years, but in fairness, they also plagued the eight years before him under G. W. Bush. The massive export of jobs to the Far East and massive underemployment were caused when Washington decided Americans would transition from industrial work to a “service economy.” In practice, this has proven to mean going from a living wage in an industry to minimum wage in restaurant and retail work, if one could find a job at all. The situation has enraged large segments of the population who have selected outsider candidates to oppose Mrs. Clinton in both the primary and the general election. Bernie Sanders has made it clear he cares about poor people. In the video below, he explains how poverty reduces life expectancy by 18 years, even in the United States where 22 percent of children live in poverty.
Hillary Clinton has not promised an end to job exportation and only occasionally mentions income inequality, which is virtually Bernie Sanders’ mantra. Both her opponents have vowed to bring back industrial jobs, but Hillary plans to emulate the same slow and perhaps failing recovery strategies of the previous eight years. Sanders and Trump have more forceful plans to take job exportation to task with punitive measures against corporations, but Clinton comes far short of such a promise.
Hillary Clinton contends President Obama’s economic strategy is working and just needs more time, but progress has been far too slow to satisfy those still suffering in a jobless recession Hillary keeps insisting is over.
[Photo by Kristoffer Tripplaar/Getty Images]