Cross posted at Progressive Zionist (or will be later tonight)
For a former White House Secretary of Education and Director of National Drug Control Policy, William Bennett is suprisingly uninformed and uneducated on the way an economy works. It is a amazing that a man who gets to write CNN columns and has worked at the highest levels in government can be this way. I mean, one would think that the man who ran the Dept. of Education would you know... actually either have one or use the one he has.
Anyway... In a piece of serious propagandizing (trying to pass as concern for America) Bennett commits a number errors in an Opinion piece on the economy over at cnn.com.
In this obvious hit piece: Obama's running out of excuses on economy Bennett shows that not only should he not have a job in government at any level above Dog Catcher, but that no on in their right mind should hire him to do anything but write cheap propaganda.
So the article starts out with dire notes on the economy and how it has been stuck at over 8% unemployment for 41 straight months. And he furthers his commentary about the "doom and gloom" by talking about the last quarters job numbers being "anemic" with the lowest levels of job growth since 2010.
Now, all of this seems pretty bad. I mean who could be happy with unemployment being over 8% particularly for 41 straight months. Not only that, but poor quarterly numbers... Well....
Follow me over the squiggle for the real deal.
Of course this is just a cursory look at things. Looking just a tad deeper into the numbers and the analysis, one can see that indeed yes the President has not gotten the job done but, in my opinion (and I think that in the opinion of any reasonable person) it is not for the reasons Bennett lays out in his piece.
Bennett goes on to take issue with the Presidents Council of Economic Advisers Alan Krueger who said: ""There are no quick fixes to the problems we face that were more than a decade in the making," and then added: ""The economy has now added private sector jobs for 28 straight months, for a total of 4.4 million payroll jobs during that period," A pretty reasonable thing to say and again an effort by the Obama team to present a realistic picture of what is happening. Unlike Mitt who promises to a quick fix on day one and so far from what I can tell has a jobs plan consisting of cutting taxes on "job creators" (Large Corporations, Excessively Rich People, and U.S. based companies that outsource jobs to foreign nations), cutting workplace safety and environmental regulations, and outsourcing Emergency Services to the the highest bidder.
Anyway, and here is where Bennett in his short piece starts to get everything completely wrong. First he says:
In other words, any chances for economic recovery before the fall elections look slim. More importantly, there is a profound lack of urgency from the White House for any large scale, serious reforms.Really? Unless by "reforms" one means gutting the social safety net, and cutting jobs, as well vital programs in the Public Sector all while continuing the economic destructive policy of continually reducing taxes on the richest Americans while running a war in Afghanistan and continued military presence in Iraq OFF the books (as President Bush did). So in that case he is right... President Obama is certainly guilty of NOT seeing those "reforms" as urgent. And in my opinion, nor should he be
Of course I wonder if Mr. Bennett also realizes that Congress and his party are the main obstructions to any job creation policies the President/White House do propose? One has to wonder if Mr. Bennett did not get the memo that the Republicans have become "the Party of NO" to anything that the President proposes unless those job proposals include massive tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans (whoops, I mean "job creators") and keep tax loopholes for major corporations open.
But just for Mr. Bennett and his supporters, here is the Presidents Jobs Act presented Sept.12th 2011. This was voted on in the Senate in October of 2011 and was fillibustered by.... guess who? THE REPUBLICANS - that's who.. and the Bill never made it to the House. As this report in the Nation Shows. Meanwhile the Republican controlled House of Representatives has voted 33 times for to repeal the Affordable Care Act while NOT VOTING AT ALL on the Jobs Bill. I think one can ask Mr. Bennett, who is it (which party) that does not have a sense of urgency about the job creation?
But here is where the "train leaves the tracks". Bennett says:
The obvious problem here is that Obama has been president for more than 40 months. The White House conveniently blames Republicans for decades of lost jobs, but forgets to mention the United States lost 4.3 million jobs in President Obama's first 13 months in office.Brilliant! First of all anyone who is even dimly aware of the way an economy works (and Mr. Bennett given his creditionals and stature SHOULD know this) is that the economy in the first year or two of a Presidency is really the result of the last administrations policies. So by pointing out that the first 13 months of the Obama administration featured 4.3 million jobs lost... well ok then, who is he blaming? Why the Bush administration and his own party.
But even better is this, Bennett freely admits that the President has added 4.4 million Private sector jobs in only 28 months. So does that mean he is admitting that actually the Presidents economic policies have resulted in recovery from the Bush Administrations disasterous policies? It sure looks that way to me.
But then Bennett goes a bit further in defeating his own party and rhetoric when he says:
It's not so clear the president does (understand the issues - vb1 adds for context). On Monday, he again called to repeal the Bush tax cuts on the highest earners, a contentious partisan issue that the public knows will not be solved before the elections. In his weekly address he continued to push for more construction projects and increased financial aid for college students.Wait... WHAT?? Does Bennett mean that the President is trying to PUSH FOR MORE CONSTRUCTION JOBS? That somehow, pushing for more infrastructure is bad thing? Really now... You don't say. So basically the President has added Private Sector jobs and now wants to get back both Private and Public Sector jobs (mostly cut by Republican Governors) back and that is something that shouldn't happen... But I could swear Bennett was pushing for more jobs.
In this case the Republicans fail at messaging and once again prove the Presidents words when he said:
....that the jobs report is "a step in the right direction" and that "it's still tough out there."One thing Bennett does get right and that is the messaging regarding the economy. The President SHOULDN'T blame the Bush Administration anymore. He should run on his record of SAVING THE ECONOMY and the Republican irresponsibility of political gamesmanship. Nothing illustrates this more than Bennetts failed "hit piece".