It’s the Economy, and Jobs, Stupid

Posted on June 6, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

By Scott Orr

As usual, it’s the economy stupid. But in this election year, that tested political axiom could be tweaked a bit to read it’s the economy, and jobs, stupid.

So it was a significant blow to President Obama’s reelection hopes when the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job report for the month of May showed the creation of a measly 69,000 new jobs, well below the 150,000 that were expected. Unemployment jumped to 8.2 percent, a reversal of the upward trend that had buoyed Obama’s political prospects for almost a year.

This is the worst news the Obama re-election could get at this point in the campaign. You have to go back to the Great Depression and FDR to find a president winning a re-election with an unemployment rate that high.

The economy “is not growing as fast as we want it to,” Obama said in an understatement of historic proportions. He called on Congress to put aside election-year concerns and pass some of his jobs proposals, a demand that of course will be ignored.

Mitt Romney, Obama’s Republican rival for the White House, said the increase in joblessness shows that the administration’s programs are failing and the economy is not just stalled, but is actually receding. He seized on this and other indicators of slow economic growth to pummel Obama in recent statements.

“Slowing GDP growth, plunging consumer confidence, an increase in unemployment claims, and now another dismal jobs report all stand as a harsh indictment of the President’s handling of the economy,” Romney said.

Obama said the troubles are not of his making, but are the result of global economic uncertainty: “Europe is having a significant crisis in part because they haven’t taken as many of the decisive steps as were needed to deal with the challenge, and that’s weakened Asia and that means it’s harder for our exports. All this stuff makes a difference in the global economy.”

That is hardly an argument that is going to wash with jobless Americans and the electorate in general.

This is the point in most presidential election cycles when races are at their tightest and, true to form, most polls show a contest that is within the statistical margin of error. Real Clear Politics’ polling average shows Obama with a 2 percentage point lead, but two polls, Rasmussen and Gallup, give Romney a slight edge.

Obama tried to sound optimistic in the face of the dismal news: “We will come back stronger; we do have better days ahead.”

He’d better hope those days come sooner rather than later, or he will be joining the ranks of the unemployed come January.

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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