The jobs report is out. Hahaha, no I didn’t read it. But other people did, and it’s bad. Here’s Krugman’s initial reaction:
Ugh. That was a seriously ugly jobs report (pdf). Almost no job creation, with slow private-sector growth offset by falling public-sector employment; a falling employment-population ratio; and (I don’t know how many people have picked this up), an actual decline in wages, albeit a small one.
Unemployment leapt up to 9.2%, and yet, as Krugman noted yesterday, the President has basically ceded the responsibility of defining the terms of our national economic debate to Republicans, with their belt-tightening, and their bootstrap lifter-upper-ing, and their bullshit, bullshit, bullshit:
One striking example of this rightward shift came in last weekend’s presidential address, in which Mr. Obama had this to say about the economics of the budget: “Government has to start living within its means, just like families do. We have to cut the spending we can’t afford so we can put the economy on sounder footing, and give our businesses the confidence they need to grow and create jobs.”
That’s three of the right’s favorite economic fallacies in just two sentences. No, the government shouldn’t budget the way families do; on the contrary, trying to balance the budget in times of economic distress is a recipe for deepening the slump. Spending cuts right now wouldn’t “put the economy on sounder footing.” They would reduce growth and raise unemployment. And last but not least, businesses aren’t holding back because they lack confidence in government policies; they’re holding back because they don’t have enough customers — a problem that would be made worse, not better, by short-term spending cuts.
It’s impossible to run controlled macroeconomic experiments, so in place of them we look to history for parallels. Right now, we’re re-living something like a miniature version of the Great Depression — high unemployment, no private job creation, super-low inflation, and overall economic malaise. (And I know, I know, the parallels aren’t perfect — none are. So sue me.) The sad part is that, unlike our political elites of the 1930′s, today’s Galtian overlords have accepted our current national shittiness as the new normal, while one of our major political parties is actively trying everything it can think of to make things worse so that Michele “Crazy-Eyes” Bachmann can get elected and bring about the rapture in 2012, or something. So instead of at least getting cool infrastructure projects out of the widespread horror — your Hoover Dams, your hike-able national parks, etc etc — we twiddle thumbs as the country both literally and figuratively crumbles.
Have I said this all before? It bears repeating.
UPDATE FOR THE HELL OF IT: Also, what Felix Salmon said.
“Spend less money, create more jobs” is the kind of world one normally finds only in Woody Allen movies, and it’s a profoundly unserious stance for any politician to take. Spending cuts, whether they’re implemented by the public sector or the private sector, are never going to create jobs. And there’s simply no magical ju-jitsu whereby government spending cuts get reversed and amplified, becoming larger private-sector spending increases.
Boehner’s rhetoric, here, is a cynical play on our nation’s economic illiteracy. But the jobs crisis is far too big and too important to become a tactical political football. Now more than ever, it’s the job of government to come together and to do something constructive to create high-quality, long-term employment. Fast. Instead, the House majority is giving us aggressively harmful stupidity. Today’s a bad day in the annals of job statistics. But it’s equally bad in the annals of public service.