Mike Klein Online

As Economy Collapsed: White House Scheduled a Nice Photo-Op

Mike Klein

On the same day that the administration released another weak monthly unemployment report President Barack Obama went to the picturesque Washington Navy Yard to announce new efforts to put American veterans back to work.   And you think that’s no coincidence?

Media seemed desperate on Friday morning to put the most positive possible spin on federal labor statistics that 117,000 new jobs were created in July, and new job totals for May and June were revised slightly upward.  By any measure the economy remains stagnant.  But that is what passed for good news during a tough week in which very little went right for the President.

On Tuesday the White House was boxed into a corner and forced to accept a debt ceiling deal that candidate Barack Obama never in a thousand years would have thought possible during the heady 2008 campaign.  The President was significantly outmaneuvered in negotiations and at the very end it was Vice President Joe Biden who cut the deal with Republican leaders.

Wednesday evening it was back to aggressive campaign flourishes in Chicago where images of national debt discussion were replaced by images from a lavish $35,000 per plate Obama 2012 fundraiser that raised millions, most of it eventually going to the Democratic Party.  Could that timing have been any worse?  One day later on Thursday the U.S. stock markets had their worst day in three years, sparking fears of a double dip recession.

The Super Committee that was created under the debt ceiling legislation will argue for months before Republicans and Democrats present a plan to cut at least $1.2 trillion over the next decade.  You will hear a lot about sacrifice during those rigid negotiations.  Here is a bit more sacrifice: investors lost $1.9 trillion in 6.5 hours on Thursday.

Incidentally, investors are sometimes called people.  People own retirement accounts, people pay for educations, people pay for Grandma, people pay all manner of local, state and federal taxes, people own small businesses that employ people like themselves.  People can’t print money or sell bonds to China.  People can just watch their lifetime investments plunge.  Some people hope they can control their destinies without relying on government.

You could hardly blame the White House for wanting to announce something good on Friday.  Monthly jobs numbers are no surprise to the administration. They knew what was coming.  They knew what all those charts would look like on television.  They know the U.S. domestic economy needs to create well above 200,000 jobs and preferably 300,000 jobs per month to grow.  They know it must come really quick to prop up Obama 2012.

So if the administration wanted to find a patriotic backdrop like the Navy Yard to announce a new veterans’ job initiative on the same day it released another dismal jobs report, then perhaps that was their best damage control.

When you are the White House you do what seems to work best.  You create a photo-op.

(Mike Klein is Editor at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation)

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August 5, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

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