Monday, August 10, 2009

Stop Hatin' And Give Obama Some Freakin' Credit Already!!!

[Editor's Note: This post ran Friday afternoon and the discussion seems to still be going strong, so I'm promoting it to Page B.]

So, despite the prognostications, the latest unemployment numbers dropped a few minutes ago, and it turns out that for the first time since Obama took the reigns, signs are pointing in the right direction.
Employers throttled back on layoffs in July, cutting just 247,000 jobs, the fewest in a year, and the unemployment rate dipped to 9.4 percent, its first decline in 15 months.

It was a better-than-expected showing that offered a strong signal that the recession is finally ending.

The new snapshot, released by the Labor Department on Friday, also offered other encouraging news: workers' hours nudged up after sinking to a record low in June, and paychecks grew after having fallen or flat lined in some cases.

To be sure, the report still indicates that the jobs market is on shaky ground. But the new figures were better than many analysts were expecting and offered welcomed improvements to a part of the economy that has been clobbered by the recession.

Since the recession began in December 2007, the economy has lost a net total of 6.7 million jobs.

Also heartening: job losses in May and June turned out to be less than previously reported. Employers sliced 303,000 positions in May, versus 322,000 previously logged. And, they cut 443,000 in June, compared with an earlier estimate of 467,000.

The job cuts made in July were the fewest since August 2008. The deepest job cuts of the recession came in January, when 741,000 job disappeared, the most in any month since 1949.

The slowdown in layoffs in part reflected fewer jobs cuts in manufacturing, construction, professional and business services and financial activities – areas that have been hard hit by the collapse of the housing market and the financial crisis. Retailers, however, cut more jobs in July.

Those losses were blunted by job gains in government, education and health services, and in leisure and hospitality. Still, the worst of the job cuts have passed.

Analysts were forecasting job losses to slow to around 320,000 and the unemployment rate to tick up to 9.6 percent.
Sounds good, right? Not so fast. What do Obama Derangers do? Immediately start defiling the numbers as a mirage, insisting that we're still headed towards double digit unemployment before all's said and done, and noting that it's unlikely Obama's policies have been the reason for the positive numbers.

One thing that's certain is that without the stimulus money given to states to make payroll and avoid layoffs, and the "bailouts" given to auto and banking industries, these numbers would be far worse. It's also certain that without the extensions of unemployment benefits, COBRA benefits, and assistance with foreclosure avoidance, the economy as a whole would be in far dire straits. The Dow is pushing 9,400, which is usually a precursor to overall employment stats improving since jobs numbers generally lag. Pending home sales just rose for the 5th straight month. The auto industry just had its best month in a year. The administration is working on long overdue healthcare reform. Ray Charles could see that things are looking better.

So why all the hate and borderline derangement?

I can't say this surprises me. To many people, Obama can do absolutely nothing good. If the guy went out right now and c-walked on the Potomac, you'd hear some folks complaining that his started from the left bank, and others would criticize him for not walking on the Anacostia first. Simply put, Obama can't win for losing. And for the life of me, I can't figure out why.

Some of me wonders if this is simple partisan sour grapes, and that these folks would prolly protest Jesus if he were a Democrat. Perhaps it's the extreme level of scrutiny due to the proliferation of more subversive forms of media (blogs, twitter, 24/7 cable news, talk radio) than ever before seen at this stage of a Presidency. And yeah, part of me wonders if this is pure, unadulterated racism.

I surely didn't agree with everything George Bush did as President, but for my own good, I trusted him to make good decisions because once he was deemed the victor (twice), I had no other choice. I obviously didn't have a blog the entire time he was in office, so you'll just have to take my word on this. I gave him the benefit of the doubt when he inherited a sinking economy that tanked in Clinton's final year when the dotcom bust occurred. I gave him credit for being proactive with his first round of "stimulus" checks. I didn't agree with him taking us into war on trumped up charges, but thought he showed reasonably good leadership post-9/11. I still think faith-based initiatives are a great idea. I gave him credit for the economic rebound (the Dow was over 14,000 at one point), although I think he could have done more to regulate the housing market which eventually crashed and undermined his progress. I agreed with last year's "stimulus" package, although I didn't get a check of my own because the gubb'ment somehow deemed me too "wealthy". I agreed with both bailouts of Wall Street and Detroit (both of which he did pre-Obama, yet somehow avoided being labeled as a Socialist), although I don't think he put enough controls in place to ensure that the money was properly spent. Simply put, I don't think he was a great President by any stretch, but that doesn't mean everything he did was godawful.

So I wonder if these fine Americans who decry everything Obama does (right down to his choice of beer and proficiency at swatting flies) are giving the man the benefit of the doubt on any level. If you read this blog regularly, you already know that I don't agree with everything Obama does, but I still think he's doing a fine job overall thus far. And need I remind ya'll, we're barely 7 months into a 48 month gig! All these critics sound like the sort of Monday morning quarterbacks who call for the new coach's resignation after a close week one loss, conveniently forgetting that the team went 0-16 last season.

Yeah, it's sorta like that.

Ultimately, I have little doubt that Barack Obama's 8 years (yeah, really) will be good for America as a whole when all is said and done. Criticize the incomplete healthcare plan all you want, but I fail to see how getting all Americans insured is such a bad thing. Putting "czars" in place sounds like silly overkill, but if it succeeds in creating the sort of oversight that prevents another false economic house of cards, how is that a bad thing? The economy is already showing signs, and historically speaking, Democrats (which Obama is one of) are generally better for the overall economy than the GOP. Do I care about "out of control spending"? Sure. But I feel a lot better about going into debt to fund productive things like healthcare, education, and the environment than a senseless war or three.

Call me crazy, but 200 days in, could Obama possibly be doing a better job, considering the sh*t sandwich he inherited?

Question: With so many signs pointing in a positive direction, what will Obama haters have to criticize a year from now? Do you think some people are simply unwilling to give him credit for anything good? Why is that? Political polarization, hyper media scrutiny, or fear of a Black President?

Job Losses Slow To 247,000; Jobless Rate Dips [HuffPost]

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