As this election cycle has dragged on, we’ve heard two types of rhetoric (in this case, “rhetoric” means persuasive speech). One side says that things are getting worse and that the President’s “big government” policies are directly responsible for “killing jobs” and prolonging the economic recession. The other side says that things are looking better and that while economic recovery has been slow, it IS happening, thanks in large part to President Obama’s policies.
Facts are funny things. You can scream all you want, trying to persuade an audience to accept your view, but if the facts don’t line up with your rhetoric, you’re just a talking head.
Here are the facts. Last month (February 2012) the United States added 227,000 jobs, making it the 23rd consecutive month of private sector job growth. Most of these new jobs were in the fields of manufacturing, professional and hospitality and restaurants. Unemployment dropped to 8.3 percent in January and has since remain unchanged. Those marginally attached to the labor force (those looking for work) did not increase, nor did the amount of discouraged workers (those who have literally given up looking for a job). As a matter of fact, first-time claims for unemployment decreased to its lowest point in four years.
Oh, and under President Obama, the amount of people who work for the government has actually decreased, despite the claims of “bigger government.” In 2011, there was an average loss of 22,000 government jobs per month.
While the economic recovery has been painfully slow at times, it is pretty clear that things are getting better overall. Whether you attribute the improving economy to President Obama’s policies, the ingenuity of the American worker, or both, the fact remains that things are definitely not getting worse. And yet, despite the public availability of these facts, the President’s critics still believe that the economy is going down.
Listening to a campaign speech by Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, or Rick Santorum, one would get the impression that the country is about to sink into the Earth, or something. Is this dissonance with reality the way to win an election in modern-day America? Politicians have always been known to twist and distort facts or even make them up on the spot to win an election. That’s nothing new in American politics.
However, I don’t think it’s advantageous to the Republican candidates to claim that things are getting worse because of President Obama when the facts clearly show things are in fact getting better. The American people’s confidence and optimism about our their economic future is improving. We aren’t idiots. We can tell that things are getting better. More of us are finding jobs. Maybe the GOP should focus on continuing and improving upon the policies of President Obama….I know, crazy, right?!
If Romney, Gingrich and Santorum keep up the revisionist charade, they may as well drop out of the race. Treating voters like buffoons who have no access to publicly available facts and statistics is a losing campaign strategy. Of course, ignoring the threats of climate change and the deterioration of civil rights and liberties and the middle class are whole other blog posts… 😉