June’s job numbers– 9.2 percent unemployment and the creation of only 18,000 new jobs — has brought a fundamental shift in the White House’s message on the economy. The Heritage Foundation’s Michael Franc sums it up: “Bye-bye, hope and change. Hello, denial and defeatism.” In yesterday’s National Review Online, Franc writes:
In a fleeting Rose Garden appearance [Friday], the president urged patience and advocated a less-than-inspirational economic agenda of Patent Office reform, a new bureaucracy (an “infrastructure bank), and extension of December’s payroll tax cut. (Why not? Look how well the temporary cut has sparked the economy so far!) He then retreated swiftly to the White House, refusing to take a single question.
The evidence that Obamanomics has failed — long-term unemployment is higher now than at any time in more than 60 years — is overwhelming. Even the White House senses its “stimulus” mantra won’t wash any more. After publicly chuckling that the much-vaunted “shovel-ready jobs weren’t so shovel ready,” [ha-ha!] the president can’t very well maintain that prosperity is just around the corner if only we keep spending ourselves deeper into debt.
Thus, we see two new messages emerging. First, the 1970s-esque acknowledgement that, yes, the economy stinks, but there’s nothing the president or anyone else can do about it. Why? Because there has been a “structural change” in the economy. The moral of this argument: “Get used to 10 percent unemployment, 15 percent underemployment, and bid a fond adieu to the American dream.”
It’s a message of resignation. Yes, it says, we’re doomed for economic decline no matter what, but trust us to manage it more gracefully than anyone else. . .
The second new message emanating from the White House is strictly political. Unemployment numbers are no big whoop, says senior presidential advisor David Plouffe, because the president can win reelection even if the economy is in the tank. While doubtless reassuring to the 454 White House aides earning more than $37 million this year, that news provides little comfort to the 14.1 million Americans currently looking for a job.
Read more at National Review Online.