Top Republican leaders were barely able to contain their excitement over the new job numbers released on Friday that showed the U.S. economy adding an underwhelming 120,000 jobs in March. Despite the lower-than-expected growth, unemployment continued its downward trend to settle at 8.2%.
Some job growth is clearly better than zero or negative job growth, but the 120,000 figure is much lower than most economists were forecasting and represents a significant slide from the solid numbers the economy produced in January and February. Macroeconomics is a game of managing expectations; this month the expectations were not met.
Friday's report is obviously bad news for Americans seeking work, unless you happen to be a Republican and the work you're seeking happens to be elected office.
Instead of offering a competing vision for economic growth, Republican candidates and political operatives seized the opportunity to lambaste President Obama over his management of the recovery.
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Here’s a sample of what some of these “leaders” have been saying to various media outlets. Try to imagine each of these quotes vomiting forth between the barely-parted lips of a self-satisfied smirk.
Reince Priebus, RNC Chairman:
“Over three years ago, President Obama projected that the unemployment rate would be below six percent by now thanks to his stimulus. But the stimulus failed, and unemployment has been far above that level ever since.”
Sharon Day, RNC Co-Chair (unofficial female vote chair):
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“President Obama and his fellow Democrats love to say they stand for women, but women can no longer stand the Obama economy. Women deserve better, and in November we will hold him accountable.”
Mitt Romney, Presidential front-runner:
“Millions of Americans are paying a high price for President Obama's economic policies, and more and more people are growing so discouraged that they are dropping out of the labor force altogether. It is increasingly clear the Obama economy is not working and that after three years in office the President's excuses have run out."
John Boehner, Speaker of the House:
"Just think what could be achieved if Washington started being part of the solution instead of the problem and took steps to liberate the world's greatest economy from the shackles of big government.”
Tons of political jabs, even one logically strained attempt to lure women back to the party of chastity belts and vaginal probes, but zero solutions. If empty rhetoric was a job creator then we’d be back to Clinton-era employment by June.
What this all really tells us is that the Republicans think pretty poorly of the American people’s short-term memory. We already had eight years of irresponsible tax cuts for the wealthy and government de-regulation of Wall Street and all we got was this lousy T-Shirt (because it was the only clothing item we could afford after the worst recession since the Great Depression). At least Obama’s economy is moving in the right direction. I know Republicans are hot for Reagan, but “Relive the Dream of the 80s” is not a winning campaign slogan in 2012.