I have good news and bad news. Actually, I don’t. What I have is the appearance of good news and the reality of bad news.
First what looks like the good new: The unemployment rate has dropped a tenth of a percentage point to 8.1. Now the bad news: Some of the decline has resulted from people leaving the work force, many of them frustrated because they haven’t been able to find a job in a very long time.
Here’s more bad news. The economy generated a measly 115,000 jobs in April instead of the expected 168,000. This could mean more of the same old sluggish economy ahead.
And here’s something you won’t hear from the White House: In April, the percentage of adults working or looking for work fell to the lowest level in more than 30 years. So if you add back all the people who have stopped looking for work you get a real unemployment rate of almost 15 percent.
Despite those numbers, as he campaigns for re-election, we can expect President Obama to take credit for the lower unemployment rate, leaving out the other inconvenient stuff — and counting on the less sophisticated among us to buy his story. But by and large the president won’t be running on his record of turning the crummy economy around, mainly because he hasn’t, and too many voters know it.
More than anything else, this president who once vowed to bring us together will spend his time trying to tear us apart, to split us into groups and then pit us against each other. At his party’s convention four years ago, he seduced the nation by so eloquently telling us there is “not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America.” So much for soaring rhetoric. That was then.
This time around Mr. Obama will be running as the war president. There is the war on women and the war on minorities and the war on college kids and the war on the wealthy. They’re all phony wars, of course, but Mr. Obama is counting on the votes of people who don’t really pay attention…