The Reality of Unemployment
At last, Obama’s economic strategy becomes clear: Encourage Americans to stop even looking for work! In April, the number of Americans seeking work dropped by 522,000, part of a long term decline of 22 million in the number of adults seeking work.
When Obama took office, 135 million American adults had jobs. Now, 139 million do. But when he became president, 70 million had dropped out of the labor force or were unemployed. Now, 100 million fall into these categories.
University of Maryland economist Peter Morici writes that “Factoring in those discouraged adults and others working part time for lack of full time opportunities, the unemployment rate is about 14.5 percent. Adding college graduates in low skill positions, like counterwork at Starbucks, and the unemployment rate is likely closer to 18 percent.”
So when Obama touts the drop in unemployment to 8.1 percent, he is being completely disingenuous. Real unemployment is rising, not falling.
But the social consequences of these massive drop-offs in labor force participation are truly harrowing for our nation. The first thing the former communists of Eastern Europe did when they took power democratically after the rising of the Iron Curtain was to lower the retirement age — to 50 in some places — to swell the ranks of those dependent on state pensions. Ever since, these seniors have been reliable votes for the left as they fret and worry about their always dwindling pensions.
Obama has begun the transformation of America from a nation of hard-working, tax-paying people to one where only a minority work and a small minority pay almost all the taxes. This change presages the day when the tax eaters outvote the taxpayers and those who do not work outnumber those who do. (Already almost 50 percent pay no personal income taxes and the top 20 percent in income pay more than 85 percent of the income tax revenues).
Some have recently called Obama the “divider in chief.” But his division of the United States by ethnicity, gender, age, and wealth is not a injurious to our national psyche as his political efforts to form a coalition of non-workers and non-taxpayers to re-elect him.
Obama’s recent ads hitting Romney for his support from the oil industry and its announced intention to spend $200 million beating Obama follows this same course. He attacks the tax breaks we give oil companies and Romney’s backing for them. But he does not suggest that taxing oil profits will either increase production or lower gas prices. Nor does he even suggest that the revenues are a step toward a balanced budget.
Instead, his message is cloaked in envy and animosity. His manner and language suggest that taxing oil is a way of getting even for their “record profits.” In fact, any tax increase for oil companies decreases the amount available for exploration and new drilling and tends to increase the price of oil and cut supplies.
If Obama can persuade enough people to drop out of the labor force and live quietly at home on diminished incomes, he might convince us that he has eradicated unemployment!