07.06.2010 0

Americans vote with their feet – leave civilian labor force in droves

Let’s play June unemployment report Jeopardy.

And the answer is: What are 652,000 Americans exiting the civilian labor force – more than the entire population of the City of Boston, Massachusetts.

Question: The explanation for how our nation’s economy could lose 125,000 jobs in the month of June and still have the unemployment rate fall from 9.7 to 9.5%?

Think about the magnitude of the number 652,000 people. It is as if an alien mother ship dropped down and eliminated every resident of the District of Columbia and took a few people from Maryland and Virginia as well. It is as if the entire city of Boston just decided to stop participating in the nation’s labor force. It is a huge number of people.

And it is a gigantic no-confidence vote for Obama’s economic policy from those who matter most – the American worker.

Almost as startling is the fact that there are 50% more discouraged workers in the United States today than just one year ago, and 46% of unemployed workers have been unemployed for more than 27 weeks.

Clearly the Pelosi solution of continually extending unemployment benefits as an economic stimulus package is failing to deliver the thing these workers want most – a job.

Now, Democratic leaders will be parading around the safety of the Sunday talk shows trying to blame their Republican counterparts not only for the economy that Obama seems determined to sink back into recession, but for their failure to pass another extension of unemployment insurance benefits.

There is only one problem with this strategy. It is a lie. It was the Democrats who refused to accept a deal that would have paid for the increased benefits without increasing the debt.

While the current law that allows unemployed workers to collect 99 weeks of unemployment benefits seems more than fair, Senate Republicans were not objecting to extending these benefits once again. Instead, they offered Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a deal on how to pay for the additional spending without adding to the budget deficit. Reid refused the offer, and in a pique of anger adjourned the Senate for the Independence Day recess.

Apparently, Reid needed to get back to Vegas to don his “I care about you” mask and hope to fool the people just one more time. How else can his decision to shut down the Senate a full two days early be explained?

There can be no doubt that the public’s no-confidence vote in June would have been even more dramatic if they had been able to witness the Reid/Pelosi follies this past week. Or perhaps, the American public was just ahead of the curve.

The author is the Director of Communications for Americans for Limited Government and the former Public Affairs Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Labor.

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