Steve Benen: The first several months of 2011 showed steady and strong improvements to the nation’s employment picture, and there were reasons for optimism for the near future. That optimism is now long gone. If May’s job numbers were a punch to the gut, June’s job numbers felt like getting kicked while already on the ground.
….in June, the economy created even fewer jobs, totaling just 18,000 for the month. The unemployment rate also went up, reaching 9.2%. All told, the private sector gained 57,000 jobs, while the public sector lost 39,000 jobs, due entirely to budget cuts at the state and local level.
… If our political system were sane in the slightest, elected leaders would look at these numbers and conclude that the economy desperately needs a boost. Job creation should be the first, and arguably one, priority on the minds of policymakers. Instead, the only topic of discussion allowed in Washington is about debt reduction – which takes money out of the economy and makes unemployment worse.
This jobs report is a flashing red light …. we have a jobs crisis, not a debt crisis. The longer we’re stuck in the wrong conversation, the longer it will be until conditions improve.
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President Obama walks out of the Oval Office to the Rose Garden to make a statement about the unemployment numbers
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi: “Today’s jobs report makes it clear: more must be done to create jobs and strengthen our middle class. Republicans must join Democrats to focus squarely on Americans’ top priority – putting people back to work.
“In the six months since Republicans have been in charge of the House, they have failed to bring a single jobs bill to the floor or offer a clear jobs plan. Democrats have forced ten votes on job-creation measures in this Congress – and Republicans have voted ‘no’ each time.
“Democrats know that creating jobs must be job number one for this Congress, yet Republicans continue to push their plan to end Medicare in order to give billions in tax breaks to Big Oil and corporations that ship American jobs overseas. And now, they are putting our entire economy at risk – by threatening to let our nation default for the first time, injecting uncertainty into the economy, and demanding we balance our budget on the backs of seniors and the middle class.
“We are ready to work together on a balanced, bipartisan approach to bring down our debt, while creating jobs, strengthening the middle class, and growing our economy.”
ThinkProgress: Appearing on CNBC this morning, presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann was asked about this morning’s dismal jobs report and whether higher unemployment rates might help her chances of winning in 2012. “Does it strike you that as the unemployment rate goes up, your chances of winning office also go up?” host Carl Quintanilla asked. “Well, that could be. Again, I hope so,” Bachmann replied. More here
Thank you Desert Flower
Steve Benen: In a statement this morning, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus blamed rising unemployment on “out-of-control spending.” Perhaps now would be a good time for reasonable political observers to call this what it is: dangerously stupid.
… When the jobs reports were looking quite good in the early spring, Republican leaders were eager to take credit for the positive numbers they had nothing to do with. Needless to say, GOP officials are no longer claiming responsibility … It’s a nice little scam Republicans have put together: when more jobs are being created, it’s proof they’re right; when fewer jobs are being created, it’s proof Obama’s wrong…
…the great irony of the 2010 midterms is that voters were angry and frustrated by the weak economy, so they elected a lot of Republicans who are almost desperate to make matters worse.
…It’s not too late. We can boost public investments. The Federal Reserve can stop worrying about inflation that doesn’t exist. We can stop pretending spending cuts can create jobs.
If the politics won’t allow for measures to make things better – if, in other words, Republicans refuse to consider steps to create jobs – then it’s probably time for the public to change the politics.
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