The President will remain in Palm City, Florida through Monday, Feb 18. No public events are scheduled
President Obama greets supporters after arriving at West Palm Beach International Airport, Feb. 15
Paul Krugman: It looks as if President Obama has successfully set a political trap over the minimum wage. Raising the minimum is very popular — even a narrow majority of Republicans are for it. But Republican leaders are opposed. And they’d like people to believe that their opposition is driven by sincere concern for workers who might lose their jobs.
Well, this isn’t likely to work…..
….. Maybe once upon a time, when Republicans were less intellectually inbred, they could have pulled off the stunt of seeming to care about the people supposedly hurt by a higher minimum wage. But I really don’t think they’re up to it at this point.
THIS WEEK (ABC): Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). Roundtable: Matthew Dowd; Univision anchor Jorge Ramos; Paul Krugman; Carly Fiorina; Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA). Then, Michelle Rhee.
FACE THE NATION (CBS): NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Plus, CBS Sports’ Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Shannon Sharpe.
STATE OF THE UNION (CNN): Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey, Hines Ward and George Allen.
FOX NEWS SUNDAY: National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre. Captain Mark Kelly, U.S. Navy (Ret.). Roundtable: Kevin Madden, Nina Easton, Laura Ingraham, Evan Bayh.
MEET THE PRESS (NBC): Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey. Roundtable: Robert Gibbs; Ralph Reed; former National Hispanic Co-Chair for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, Ana Navarro; David Brooks. Also, Bob Costas.
No John McCain?!
Mooooooorning everyone, another busy-ish Sunday but I’ll be in out and out all day checking if Manchester United are still winning that poll. It’s looking good. :cool:
President Barack Obama signs an accompanying letter to Congressional leaders after signing H.R. 152, which provides fiscal year 2013 supplemental appropriations to respond to and recover from the severe damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Jan. 29, 2013. (Photo by Pete Souza)
10:0 Senate Judiciary Hearing on Gun Violence: Live on C-SPAN
3:55: President Obama is interviewed by Jose Diaz Balart of Telemundo
4:15: Interviewed by Maria Elena Salinas of Univision
(Interviews will be released at 6:30)
Washington Post: President Obama is riding a wave of personal popularity into his second term, with his highest favorability ratings since his first year in office, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Fully 60 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of Obama in the new poll, up slightly from October but a clear shift in opinion from an election year in which his ratings hovered in the mid-to-low 50s.
Washington Post: In hailing an emerging bipartisan consensus in the Senate on immigration reform, President Obama added Tuesday to the momentum to fix a broken-down system that long ago stopped making sense and serving the country…
….. the president did the sensible thing by standing aside, for the time being, to let Congress take the lead on crafting a bill in the coming months…..
But Mr Obama also made clear that if progress slows toward a deal, the administration will submit its own bill. The implication, and the threat to Republicans, is clear: Act soon to forge a reasonable deal, or risk being seen — once again — as impeding progress on the issue that will shape political attitudes for the nation’s fastest-growing group of minority voters.
On Thursday, learn more about President Obama’s vision for a 21st century immigration system as the White House hosts the next in an ongoing series of conversations with administration officials on Google+. Starting at 1:00 p.m. ET on January 31, Cecilia Muñoz, the Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, will join the latest “Fireside Hangout”– a 21st century take on FDR’s famous radio addresses – to talk about immigration reform.
The conversation will be moderated by Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and founder of Define American….
Washington Post: Former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) is expected to testify Wednesday at a Senate hearing on gun violence, lending the emotional resonance of her experience with the issue to what had already promised to be a dramatic exchange between lawmakers and advocates for and against stricter gun-control laws.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing on gun-related violence in 14 months on Wednesday morning, and observers expect that it will help set the tone for congressional debates over legislation introduced in the wake of the deadly shooting last month at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., that killed 26 people, including 20 young children.
Washington Post: By Mark Barden and Jackie Barden, parents of Daniel who died in the Sandy Hook shootings
Wednesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence is the latest in a series of events following the Dec. 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Our 7-year-old son, Daniel, 19 of his first-grade classmates and six educators were killed in the tragedy. We believe this hearing is an opportunity to rise above the hard-line rhetoric and intransigence that too often lead to inaction and hopelessness, and we hope that our leaders and our nation will start a new conversation with a chance of achieving real change.
…. We have joined with other families, neighbors and friends in making the Sandy Hook Promise (www.sandyhookpromise.org). We hope every member of Congress and Americans nationwide will join us in pledging to honor the lives lost last month by coming together to end these violent tragedies.
Statement by the President on the Passing of Senator Daniel Inouye
Tonight, our country has lost a true American hero with the passing of Senator Daniel Inouye. The second-longest serving Senator in the history of the chamber, Danny represented the people of Hawaii in Congress from the moment they joined the Union. In Washington, he worked to strengthen our military, forge bipartisan consensus, and hold those of us in government accountable to the people we were elected to serve. But it was his incredible bravery during World War II – including one heroic effort that cost him his arm but earned him the Medal of Honor – that made Danny not just a colleague and a mentor, but someone revered by all of us lucky enough to know him. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Inouye family.
Ezra Klein: …. a “fiscal cliff” deal seems to be coming together … Boehner offered to let tax rates rise for income over $1 million. The White House wanted to let tax rates rise for income over $250,000. The compromise will likely be somewhere in between….
On the spending side, the Democrats’ headline concession will be accepting chained-CPI (see here), which is to say, accepting a cut to Social Security benefits…..
…. On stimulus, unemployment insurance will be extended, as will the refundable tax credits. Some amount of infrastructure spending is likely. Perversely, the payroll tax cut, one of the most stimulative policies in the fiscal cliff, will likely be allowed to lapse, which will deal a big blow to the economy…..
….. As is always the case, the negotiations could fall apart, or the deal could change. But right now, the participants sound upbeat….
Paul Krugman: It sounds as if Ezra Klein is hearing more or less the same things I’m hearing: Republicans willing to give up a lot more on tax rates, although not fully undoing the Bush tax cuts in the 250-400 range; additional tax hikes via deduction limits in a form that hits the wealthy, not the upper middle class; unemployment extension and infrastructure spending; but “chained CPI” for Social Security, which is a benefit cut.
… this contains stuff that Obama can’t get just by letting us go over the cliff: more revenue than he could get just from tax-cut expiration, unemployment and infrastructure too. But it has a cost, those benefit cuts.
Those cuts are a very bad thing, although there will supposedly be some protection for low-income seniors. But the cuts are not nearly as bad as raising the Medicare age….
…. we shouldn’t be doing benefit cuts at all; but if benefit cuts are the price of a deal that is better than no deal, much better that they involve the CPI adjustment than the retirement age….
President Barack Obama works with senior advisors in the Oval Office, Dec. 17. Standing, from left, are: Rob Nabors, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs; Jeffrey Zients, Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget; and Chief of Staff Jack Lew. (Photo by Pete Souza)
National Journal: Republicans alarmed at the apparent challenges they face in winning the White House are preparing an all-out assault on the Electoral College system in critical states, an initiative that would significantly ease the party’s path to the Oval Office.
Senior Republicans say they will try to leverage their party’s majorities in Democratic-leaning states in an effort to end the winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes. Instead, bills that will be introduced in several Democratic states would award electoral votes on a proportional basis.
….. if more reliably blue states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin were to award their electoral votes proportionally, Republicans would be able to eat into what has become a deep Democratic advantage.
All three states have given the Democratic nominee their electoral votes in each of the last six presidential elections. Now, senior Republicans in Washington are overseeing legislation in all three states to end the winner-take-all system.
Charles Pierce: There is no longer any reason to believe that the Republican party has any intention of changing itself to adapt to a changing America. Every story you read to that effect is a lie. Every apparent attempt by the party to convince you that it is planning to do it is a fake. They are not planning on adapting to a changing country. What they’re planning is to change the system of presidential elections so that they never have to do so. I’m not sure it will work, but that hasn’t stopped them recently….
Jonathan Bernstein: There was a lot of chatter today about National Journal’s report that national Republicans are pushing a plan to…well, there’s no other way to say it: they’re pushing a plan to rig presidential elections.
…. Fortunately, it’s unlikely that it will happen. As I’ve argued, unlike the cases in which state Republican parties have tried to strip unions of resources or engaged in gerrymanders, the incentives on this one are at cross-purposes. What’s good for the national GOP would be quite bad for Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, and probably even worse for Republican legislators and governors in those states.
E.J. Dionne: …. There was a different quality to President Obama’s response to this mass shooting, both initially and during his Sunday pilgrimage to offer comfort to the families of victims. I think I know why. It is not just that 20 young children were killed, although that would be enough.
For some months now, there have been rumblings from the administration that Obama has been unhappy with his own policy passivity in responding to the earlier mass shootings and was prepared in his second term to propose tough steps to deal with our national madness on firearms.
He spoke in Newtown in solidarity with the suffering, but pointed toward action. No, he said, we are not “doing enough to keep our children, all our children, safe.” He added: “We will have to change.”
Charles Pierce: ….. Too many people make too much money on guns and ammo …. Profit is what gives the NRA its real power; it lobbies less for the rights of its membership than for the right of weapons manufacturers to make a pile….
…. You want to eliminate the guns? Take the profit out of them. Take the fight to the people who make the weapons, not to the people who sell them or the people who buy the politicians so that selling them will be easier….
…. Too much of our entire national economy is based on violence — physical violence, emotional violence, environmental violence, economic violence — and there is too much profit to be made out of the production of violence. You want the violence to stop, break the people who are getting rich off it. Break their fortunes and you can break their power. The money comes first. It always does.
NY Mag: At 7:58 p.m. on Saturday evening, gun control’s newest advocate took to Twitter to call for stricter firearm legislation. “Nice words from POTUS on shooting tragedy,” wrote News Corp. boss Rupert Murdoch, “but how about some bold leadership action?” Around the same time at Fox News, one of Roger Ailes’s deputies was sending a very different message.
According to sources, David Clark, the executive producer in charge of Fox’s weekend coverage, gave producers instructions not to talk about gun-control policy on air. “This network is not going there,” Clark wrote one producer on Saturday night….
Steve Benen: With gun legislation practically non-existent in recent years, it’s easy to forget that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), before he became his caucus’ leader, voted against the assault weapons ban. But in light of Friday’s violence, Reid is joining his Democratic colleagues in looking anew at possible changes.
NYT: Mitt Romney has just come off a couple of rough news weeks in his quest for the presidency, but if Clyde Tennyson, 62, of Hampton, Va., is as typical of the baby boom generation as polling data seem to suggest, there is more bad news to come.
Mr. Tennyson voted for Senator John McCain in the 2008 presidential election….. This time, he says he’s voting for President Obama, a shift that a sizable number of his fellow boomers are making, according to recent polling data.
…. What is moving the baby boom voters? It may be Medicare … Lark McDonald, 51, who owns a small business in the Denver area, says he voted for Mr. McCain last time, and usually votes a straight Republican ticket, but is leaning toward Mr. Obama. He worries that the Republicans are moving too far right, he said, but he is also concerned they will dismantle the Obama health care program and make major changes in Medicare…..
…. In the last election, Howard Litvack, 53, a finance manager of a car dealership in Franklin, Tenn., backed Ralph Nader, as a protest vote. This time, he says, he’s voting for Mr. Obama. “It’s more important this time to have my vote count,” he said. “There’s more at stake.”
Washington Post: …. The notion that Obama has skipped his intelligence briefings was promoted by a right-leaning research group called the Government Accountability Institute….
….. Ultimately, what matters is what a president does with the information he receives from the CIA. Republican critics may find fault with Obama’s handling of foreign policy. But this attack ad turns a question of process — how does the president handle his intelligence brief? —into a misguided attack because Obama has chosen to receive his information in a different manner than his predecessor.
As it turns out, no president does it the exact same way. Under the standards of this ad, Republican icon Ronald Reagan skipped his intelligence briefings 99 percent of the time.
Paul Krugman: Mitt Romney is optimistic about optimism. In fact, it’s pretty much all he’s got. And that fact should make you very pessimistic about his chances of leading an economic recovery.
As many people have noticed, Mr. Romney’s five-point “economic plan” is very nearly substance-free. It vaguely suggests that he will pursue the same goals Republicans always pursue — weaker environmental protection, lower taxes on the wealthy. But it offers neither specifics nor any indication why returning to George W. Bush’s policies would cure a slump that began on Mr. Bush’s watch.
In his Boca Raton meeting with donors, however, Mr. Romney revealed his real plan, which is to rely on magic. “My own view is,” he declared, “if we win on November 6, there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We’ll see capital come back, and we’ll see — without actually doing anything — we’ll actually get a boost in the economy.”
Rupert Cornwell (UK Independent): Has there ever been as inept a recent presidential candidate as Mitt Romney? By comparison Al Gore and John Kerry, both mocked in their day as wooden and robotic, were models of empathy, nimbleness and lightness of touch. The Romney campaign, moreover, is supposed be the tightest-run of ships. Instead it – or more exactly its standard-bearer – generates gaffes by the boatload.
….. for Mitt Romney this time, there may be no recovery. The candidate wants to depict himself as a problem-solving businessman, seeking to improve life for everyone. Instead he has merely reinforced the stereotypical image put about by his opponents that he is a country-club elitist, a Darwinian capitalist who neither understands nor cares one whit about the problems faced by ordinary, less fortunate citizens.
…. It is hard to see now how he rights the ship… The astonishing thing is that he should know better. Mr Romney went through the presidential campaign meat-grinder in 2008, yet he still makes the same mistakes …. Messrs Gore and Kerry were losers. Candidate Romney, barring a massive improvement in these final weeks, looks set to join them.
Michael Tomasky: Conservative columnists are lining up to dump on Romney. But the real problem isn’t the candidate or his campaign. It’s the Republican Party and its pathologies.
Yes, Mitt Romney had a week I wouldn’t wish on … well, Mitt Romney. Yes, his campaign is incompetent, as Peggy Noonan wrote Friday. Yes, there is something really off about the guy personally. But as conservatives like Noonan start in on Romney vilification, I feel the need to stand up and reiterate: Romney’s problems aren’t all Romney’s fault. They’re not even half his fault. They’re chiefly the fault of a movement and political party that has gone off the deep end. Almost every idiotic thing Romney has done, after all, can be traced to the need he feels to placate groups of people who are way out there in their own ideological solar system, with no purchase at all on how normal Americans feel and think about things. This is much the harder question for Noonan and others to confront, and they really ought to ponder it.
Michael Cohen (The Guardian): Two conventions, two Americas. Seldom has the divide been greater – Witnessing both conferences is to see anger from the Republicans and abiding hope from the Democrats
…. the philosophical and tonal divide between them has never felt broader. Quite simply, Democrats and Republicans operate in two completely distinct realms, one that is defined by an attachment to reality and one that is increasingly detached from it.
…. Republicans reside in a fantasy world where government plays no role but that of malevolence, where the free market is the salvation to all that ails this nation and where the country is locked in a Manichaean struggle between the forces of freedom and a failed, socialist interloper named Barack Obama.
…. For four decades, Republicans have relied on an undercurrent of white resentment toward social and economic change to maintain their pre-eminence in national politics. But with an African-American president and the country moving closer to “minority-majority” status, that dominance is slipping away and it feeds the sense of anger and desperation they tried to keep hidden in Tampa, but that all too often crept to the surface….
…. the contrast between the hues in Charlotte and Tampa was remarkable. The Democratic party is a party that looks like the palette of the American experience, not just in skin colour, but in class level. The Republican party (the one in the Tampa convention hall) is one that looks like Sunday brunch at a country club.
AP: Ford is adding 1,200 workers to a suburban Detroit factory to build the Fusion, a sign of confidence that the revamped sedan will be a big seller.
Ford Americas President Mark Fields told workers at the Flat Rock plant Monday that the Fusion’s market segment is growing two times faster than the rest of the U.S. auto industry. The new Fusion goes on sale this fall.
…. Ford will hire the 1,200 new workers starting next spring. It will also invest $555 million in new equipment at the plant.
President Obama demonstrates size of bounce received by Romney after Republican convention:
Florida, Sept. 9
R.E.M.‘s “Losing My Religion” was used in the Fox News coverage of the Democratic National Convention last night. R.E.M. today, through its music publisher, Warner-Tamerlane Music, demanded that Fox News cease and desist from continuing its unlicensed and unauthorized use of the song. Michael Stipe said, “We have little or no respect for their puff adder brand of reportage. Our music does not belong there.”
Steve Kornacki (Salon): Barack Obama is winning …and he has been pretty much all year
The final evidence isn’t in yet, but there are strong indicators that Barack Obama received a real boost from the Democratic convention – bigger than the paltry bump Mitt Romney got out of his party’s gathering and potentially big enough to push Obama’s national lead to heights not seen since Romney emerged from the GOP primaries back in the spring.
Gallup’s daily trendline, which remained flat during and immediately after the Republican convention, has spiked in Obama’s favor over the last few days; as of Sunday afternoon, his lead was five points. He’s also pulled a few points ahead in Rasmussen’s daily poll, which has tended to be more Romney-friendly than other surveys, grabbed a four-point lead in a Reuters/Ipsos poll, and seen his job approval rating crack the 50 percent mark. A PPP poll released Sunday night also showed Obama hitting 50 percent in Ohio…..
The movement in Obama’s direction reinforces a point that many neutral campaign observers have been reluctant to make for months now: The presidential race is not, and has not been, a virtual tie – Obama is, and has been, winning.
President Barack Obama at the Fox Theater in Redwood City, Calif., May 23
All times Eastern
11:30: Attends a campaign event at the The Fairmont Hotel, in San Jose (Closed press)
1:00: Departs San Jose en route Newton, Iowa
4:00: Arrives in Des Moines
4:55: Tours TPI Composites, a wind manufacturer
5:15: Delivers remarks on urging Congress to act on the ‘To Do List’
6:55: Delivers remarks at a campaign event (listed in CNN’s live streaming schedule)
9:20: Departs Des Moines en route Joint Base Andrews
11:30: Arrives at Joint Base Andrews
11:45: Arrives at the White House
President Obama greets a crowd upon arriving at the Moffett Federal Airfield in Mountain View, California, on May 23
Steve Benen: We talked last week about Ohio Gov. John Kasich delivering a message to his constituents: the state’s economy is improving, jobs are being created, and there’s reason for optimism. It is, of course, the exact opposite of what Mitt Romney wants Ohioans to believe right now. This week, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) was similarly unhelpful to the larger GOP cause.
….. You can almost hear Romney shouting in the background: “You guys are screwing this up royally. We need people feeling depressed and hopeless, not excited about ‘brighter days.'”
This keeps happening. Many of the nation’s key swing states — Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Nevada, Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania — are led by Republican governors, each of whom are eager to tell their constituents that the economy is looking up. They’re hoping to boost their own fortunes, but inadvertently, they’re also helping President Obama in an election year in which the economy is easily the nation’s top issue.
Charles Pierce: I spent four years living under the barely distinguishable leadership of Willard Romney, Governor of Massachusetts. Since he’s out on the road now, running for president, and since he seems to be pretending that it was somebody else who was governor here …. I guess it’s up to the rest of us here to be his living memory of what happened when he won an election for the only time in his life.
…. speaking to a group of Latino businessmen in Los Angeles, Romney took time out from reassuring them that he wasn’t the racist goober he appeared to be in the primaries to excoriate public school teachers and their unions…
….. In 2006, he cut $37.8 million from the state’s higher education budget. Fees skyrocketed, as they did generally throughout the state. In 2003, he tried to cut $100 million from that same budget while raising tuition by $50 million at state colleges and universities. He also wanted to slash job training initiatives and workforce training funding. Things were rather worse at the primary and secondary level, where Romney passed down budget cuts and left cities and towns holding the bag. And that’s the way it was.
TPM: A new poll commissioned by NBC News, the Wall Street Journal and Telemundo shows President Obama with a large lead among Latino voters, 61 percent to 27 percent over likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. President Obama’s approval rating among Latinos polled is 61 percent approve to 32 percent disapprove, while his handling of the economy is at 54 percent approve versus 38 percent disapprove. Romney’s favorablity is underwater at 26 percent favorable versus 35 percent unfavorable.
I chuckled when I saw that even the stomach-churning Rubin concedes that GOPolitico “has gone pro-Romney, big time”.
And I LOLed again when I read our old buddy Byron Tau breathlessly reporting Romney’s attack on PBO’s “administration for allowing the daughter of Cuban head of state Raul Castro into the United States”.
Tau: Castro was allowed into the United States to attend a meeting of the Latin American Studies Association. Romney’s condemnation follows on the heels of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) YouTube comments, where the Cuban-American politican called the younger Castro an “arm” of the regime and slammed the visa as “shameful.”
The Cuban-American community is highly anti-Castro – and the issue could resonate among an influential Florida constituency that is a bit more conservative than the wider Latino community.
What did Tau neglect to mention?
The GWB administration allowed Mariela Castro visit the United States ….. three times.
AP: Chrysler followed its strong first-quarter sales with a big profit, sending its 2009 brush with financial death farther into the rearview mirror.
The Auburn Hills, Mich., company made a net profit of $473 million, its best quarter in 13 years, mainly on the back of strong U.S. sales. From January through March, Chrysler’s sales were up 39 percent as customers bought more Ram pickups, Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs and Chrysler 200 midsize sedans.
Not bad for a company that almost died three years ago. A government auto task force deadlocked on whether to save the company in 2009, with the tie broken by President Barack Obama.
Washington Post: President Obama will hold his first two major political rallies of the general-election campaign next weekend at colleges in Ohio and Virginia…
“Welcome to the general election,” David Axelrod, Obama’s senior campaign strategist, said on a conference call with reporters late Wednesday during which he and campaign manager Jim Messina announced the events….
The advisers made clear that the campaign will continue to draw a stark contrast between what they described as Obama’s long-standing desire to protect “that basic American compact that if you work hard you can get ahead” and Romney’s record of protecting the wealthy. They mentioned Romney’s time as Massachusetts governor, when the state ranked 47th in the country for job creation, as well as his time as a venture capitalist at Bain Capital, during which “he didn’t care about job creation but about wealth creation for himself and his partners.”
…. “We’re not the candidate who reinvents himself from week to week,” Axelrod said. “If you want that, you have to go somewhere else. This is a candidate who has a mission, and he’s going to see it through, and that is to rebuild an economy in which the middle class is thriving, in which people can get ahead, in which everybody from Main Street to Wall Street plays by the same rules and gets a fair shake.”
Obama’s rallies will take place on May 5 at Ohio State University in Columbus and at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond …. Messina said first lady Michelle Obama plans to travel with the president to both events.
E.J. Dionne: It turns out that there is at least one question on which Mitt Romney is not a flip-flopper: He has a utopian view of what an unfettered, lightly taxed market economy can achieve.
He would never put it this way, of course, but his approach looks forward by looking backward to the late 19th century, when government let market forces rip and a conservative Supreme Court swept aside as unconstitutional almost every effort to write rules for the economic game. This magical capitalism is the centerpiece of Romney’s campaign, and it may prove to be his undoing.
Here’s Romney’s problem. His best strategy is to cast President Obama as a failure because the economy has not come all the way back from the implosion of 2008 …. But Romney, unlike Clinton, is not offering a program through which government would take specific steps to solve the problems he catalogues. Instead, he is calling on voters to share his faith that our difficulties would go away if the state simply got out of the way, allowed the market do its thing and counted on the success of the successful to lift up everyone else.
Don’t miss Liberal Librarian’s latest post, ‘Why even have the First Amendment?’, at The People’s View
Steve Benen: For several months, the general trend on initial unemployment claims has been encouraging, reaching a four-year low in late March. Today’s new report from the Department of Labor, however, is the third consecutive week of discouraging news.
…. Obviously, a few disappointing reports may be little more than a blip, but when jobless claims are expected to drop, and instead remain stuck at a four-month high, it’s concerning.
Making matters slightly worse is the realization that if conditions continue along these lines, there’s very little that can be done – Congress simply lacks the ability to pass effective economic legislation given the Republican agenda.
In terms of metrics, when jobless claims fall below the 400,000 threshold, it’s considered evidence of an improving jobs landscape, and when the number drops below 370,000, it suggests jobs are actually being created rather quickly. After a month of four consecutive reports below 370,000, we’ve now been above 380,000 for each of the last three weeks.