Despite the cheerleading of Robert Gibbs, David Axelrod, and the Obama Political Operation, the recent unemployment report wasn't really great news. Last month, 315,000 people were so hopeless that they dropped out of the workforce completely. Over the weekend, a New York Times editorial pointed out, the jobless numbers “reveal more about the depth of distress in the job market than about real improvement in job prospects.” So it is surprising to see that over the weekend Gibbs and Axelrod went on the Sunday shows lauding the Administration’s record on the economy and job creation. Over 14 million Americans remain out of work, but President Obama has made tax hikes on the businesses we're counting on to create jobs and more taxpayer spending the backbone of his jobs plan – and neither policy has support of the American people or the votes to pass Congress.
Today In History: In 1933, the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, repealing the 18th Amendment and bringing an end to the era of national prohibition of alcohol in America. At 5:32 p.m. EST, Utah became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, achieving the requisite three-fourths majority of states' approval. Pennsylvania and Ohio had ratified it earlier in the day
Birthdays: Rep. Rodney Alexander, President Martin Van Buren, Walt Disney, and Little Richard Yesterday: Wink Martindale and Jay-Z
Here is what’s in today’s Ledger …
State Of Play: More Americans Are Dropping Out Of The Workforce Than Finding Jobs
NYT Editorial: The Drop In Unemployment Wasn’t Caused By Unemployed Americans Finding Work, It Was Because They Dropped Out Of The Work Force. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.6 percent in November from 9 percent in October in the jobs report released Friday. … Yet, properly understood, the new figures reveal more about the depth of distress in the job market than about real improvement in job prospects. Most of the decline in November’s unemployment rate was not because jobless people found new work. Rather, it is because 315,000 people dropped out of the work force, a reflection of extraordinarily weak demand by employers for new workers. The New York Times
• The “Hidden” Unemployed: Decline In Labor Force Participation Worsens The Unemployment Situation Facing The Nation. What did mainly lower unemployment? A look at the labor force participation rate tells the story. In November it fell by a statistically significant 0.2, from 64.2 percent to 64.0 percent, as more of the unemployed in the face of a weak job market gave up looking for work and withdrew from the labor force. Job search is not costless. Had the participation rate not declined last month, with employment as it was, the November unemployment rate would have been 8.9 percent - a rate not statistically different from October's 9.0 rate. (It takes a monthly change of 0.2 in the unemployment rate to be statistically significant.) So what we really had was mostly bad news. Officially measured unemployment declined mainly because more jobseekers lost hope and joined the already swollen ranks of the "hidden" unemployed. … By my estimate, if the hidden unemployment rate is added to the officially reported unemployment rate (the government's U-3 series), the adjusted total rate is currently over ten percent - well above the official 8.6 percent rate. And that doesn't include the understatement in unemployment due to response errors in the data collection process or the full-time equivalent of partial unemployment, i.e., the involuntary loss of working hours among the part-time employed. Real Clear Markets
Video: David Axelrod Attempts To Spin 315,000 Americans Dropping Out Of The Work Force As Inconsequential – Meet The Press
Stunted: Service Sector Growth At Its Slowest Pace Since January 2010. U.S. service companies, which employ 90 percent of the U.S. work force, expanded at slower pace in November and a measure of employment fell sharply. The Institute for Supply Management said Monday that its index of service sector activity dropped to 52 from 52.9 in October. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion. The service sector has grown for two straight years. But the reading was the lowest since January 2010. … On Friday, the government said the unemployment rate fell to 8.6 percent last month, the lowest level in 2 1/2 years. … About half the drop in the unemployment rate occurred because many of those out of work gave up searching for jobs. When the unemployed stop looking for work, they are no longer counted in the unemployment rate. The Associated Press
State Of Play (2): Cantor & Obama - Two Leaders. Same Words. Different Meanings.
President Obama Heads To Kansas Tomorrow To Discuss Americans Having A “Fair Shot.” Yesterday, the WH announced: “On Tuesday, December 6, President Obama will travel to Osawatomie, Kansas where he will deliver remarks on the economy. … He’ll lay out the choice we face between a country in which too few do well while too many struggle to get by, and one where we’re all in it together – where everyone engages in fair play, everyone does their fair share, and everyone gets a fair shot.”
• The Republican Take: Leader Cantor Has Been Discussing The Need To Ensure A Fair Shot For All Americans For The Past Year. Interestingly, Majority Leader Cantor has been talking about ensuring a fair shot for all Americans for the past year. The policies pursued by each man reveals the difference. The President is pursuing government ensured equality of outcome, while Leader Cantor’s policy vision is geared toward leveling the playing field for all Americas and providing equal opportunity so that all individuals can earn their success.
The Economy: The Administration’s Regulatory Agenda Continues To Stifle Growth and Decrease Investment
Small Biz Owner: Uncertainty Over Regulations, Taxes and Health Care Costs Are Preventing Growth and Investment. BOBBY JOSLIN: We're fighting mandates that just keep coming at us at nowhere. PAUL SOLMAN: Mandates? You're a sign company. What kind of mandates are you facing? JOSLIN: Well, two years ago, three years ago, we had to have all our tow motor people certified to operate a tow motor. … And that cost the company $3,600. Now we're having to dispose of all our lightbulbs. We're in the sign business. We create a lot of volume of fluorescent tubes. So we just got through spending $8,500 on a lightbulb crusher. SOLMAN: And then there's the new health care law. JOSLIN: For instance, the Obamacare, when we bring on a new employee, we don't know what that employee truly is going to cost us in 2014. And we're not in the practice of hiring people and then laying them off. … SOLMAN: Is it too much to suggest that, if you knew that the Republicans were going to take over the White House and the Senate, you would be more reassured and therefore more likely to hire? JOSLIN: Absolutely, because the policy of the Republican Party is less government in our lives. We can create jobs when the government stays off of our back. It's that simple. … SOLMAN: In Nashville, though, Bobby Joslin insists policy uncertainty is holding back his investment. BOBBY JOSLIN: We need to replace a couple expensive cranes. We're not going to do it because we don't know what the tax structure is going to be this time next year on our capital expenditure. We're holding off on that. SOLMAN: And if you knew that taxes were going to be lower on capital expenditures next year, you would buy the cranes now? JOSLIN: In a New York minute. We would order the crane. We would order our cranes right now. PBS
• Reducing The Regulatory Burden On Job Creators Would Provide A Boost To Hiring & Investment. No wonder small businesses, the engine of the U.S. economy, have stalled in hiring. Chamber of Commerce surveys show that over 60 percent of small businesses have no plans to hire in the next year, and the firms cite greater regulation or the threat of it as a major reason for their reluctance. In short, bureaucracy helps explain why businesses are making profits but not jobs. Substantially reducing the regulatory burden would go some way toward getting them to hire again. … The economic consequences of regulating business are huge. Regulatory costs raise prices, depress incomes, and encourage companies to locate in friendlier climes, harming our economy and hampering recovery. The City Journal
Reminder: The House has sent more than 20 bipartisan regulatory relief and jobs bills over to the Senate to help Americans get back to work. When will Senate Democrats act?
President Obama Ignores Reaching Out To Republicans To Find Bipartisan Solutions. President Barack Obama's relationships with Congressional Republicans have withered in recent months, casting doubt on his ability to influence Congress … direct contacts between the president and lawmakers have slowed to a trickle as he gears up for re-election, Republicans said. A senior Republican aide said Obama has had just three brief phone calls with Boehner since unveiling his jobs package — and there's been no real effort to work with the Speaker. … Meanwhile, Republicans who have occasionally worked with Democrats, including some Obama has personally wooed in the past, say they haven't heard from the president this year. … It's a dramatic difference. ... I don't expect the president every day to be calling me or somebody else. [But] I think what you do expect is to have a team that can work through the various issues ... and build a consensus," she said. Snowe added, "I can understand him using the bully pulpit, you know, to enhance his position, but it can't be to the exclusion of ever working with the legislative branch." Roll Call