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article imageOp-Ed: Cynical exploitation of US jobs figures defies reality

By Paul Wallis     Sep 8, 2012 in Politics
Washington - The new jobs figures for August weren’t great. They weren’t miraculous. So the US needs what? More excuses? More spin? More politics? No, the US needs more jobs. The almost hallucinatory response to every month’s figures has gone beyond delusion.
It’s now all about political convenience.
The New York Times quotes President Obama:
“Today we learned that after losing around 800,000 jobs a month when I took office, businesses added private-sector jobs for the 30th month in a row,” Mr. Obama told a campaign rally in Portsmouth, N.H.
Still, the pace of job growth was “not good enough,” Mr. Obama was forced to acknowledge.
The bad economic news, with the August jobs report showing continued misery particularly for the less-educated and the long-term unemployed, electrified Republican pollsters and politicians eager to interpret it as yet more evidence of the failure of Mr. Obama’s economic policies.
There’s another issue here, and it’s in the GOP’s lap- Who are the employers? The GOP’s very own business sector. Are they creating jobs? No. Are they claiming to create jobs? Not in so many words.
The reality of the American jobs situation is underpinned by a chronic lack of new business investment. There aren’t too many incentives around in the real world. It’s easier to invest on the financial markets. It’s simpler to take advantage of low interest rates than to hire employees and go through all that messy business stuff. Any idiot can make money borrowing at 0% interest rates. If you happen to be an idiot with a lot of money, you can make a lot more money. Why run a business when you can just watch the cash roll in?
This isn’t new. The “jobless recovery” of 2003 in which economic fundamentals revived with no movement in employment was based on capital, not conventional business operations. The trouble is that this time private capital has been gutted. Most small investors were trashed by the big crash.
The irony is that during the very high interest rate eras, business was operating at frenzied levels. If you borrow at 18%, you tend to make sure you’re getting returns on investment. You can’t be laid back about it. At 0%, you don’t need to do a damn thing.
The spin on job figures is masking the realities. The fact is that Main Street, the big employer, is in a hole and is stuck there. All the rhetoric isn’t doing much for small business or anyone else. Low wages are reducing spending to minimal viable levels. Unless more jobs are created, the economy can’t restart itself. Returns on investment are also being sabotaged by bizarre mindsets which have put jobs in direct opposition to business both ideologically and in practice.
Employees are seen as the enemy. The poor are supposedly poor by choice. The lack of opportunities isn’t acknowledged. The inequalities of the job market aren’t even mentioned.
So here’s a question:
Why hire the enemy, help the poor or provide opportunities and get rid of the inequalities?
And an answer:
Because that’s exactly how America became the world’s leading democracy and biggest economy. It created wealth for its citizens unlike any other nation.
So what’s wrong with that?
Ask employers.
Ask Washington insiders.
Above all ask the political geniuses.
Just don't expect a particularly sane answer.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about US employment, usa elections 2012, Obama, USA jobs August 2012 figures
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