Are the new job numbers a hopeful sign?

It might be tempting to read today’s expectations-beating jobs number—163,000, against private forecasts in the neighborhood of 100,000—as a sign the economy is surging just in time to help Barack Obama. My take is a bit more pessimistic, though not quite demoralizing.

Noam Scheiber — The New Jobs Number: OK For Obama, Less So For the Country

June’s jobs report: The private sector still needs a boost.

"In June, private employers added a mere 84,000 jobs. They added 105,000 jobs the month before, and 85,000 the month before that. To put this in some context, the economy needs to add about 100,000 to 150,000 new jobs each month just to keep up with population growth, whereas the private sector has averaged a mere 91,000 over the past three months. Which is to say, even if government job losses weren’t weighing us down, we’d still be struggling because the private sector has been pretty damn anemic. Even the part of the labor market that’s growing isn’t growing at a minimally acceptable rate. 

The upshot is that we’re no longer in a world where sending states a few tens of billions of dollars to shore up their finances is going to get the recovery on track. The economy, by which I mean the private sector, is disconcertingly weak, and strengthening it is going to take something on the order of several-hundred-billion dollars.”

–– Noam Scheiber, “Today’s Jobs Report: Private Sector *Not* Fine

Does Romney have it right on minimum wage?

"It’s well known that Mitt Romney is a shameless flip-flopper ready to shed any and all traces of his former moderation to win the GOP nomination. But this week we’ve seen an instance where Romney has been falsely accused of flip-flopping, yet Romney, hilariously, hasn’t protested, presumably because he has no particular interest in correcting the record."

- Timothy Noah, Psst. Romney Still Supports Minimum Wage

Image courtesy of Photobucket

What do you think of the policy ideas Obama laid out in last night’s State of the Union address?

"Although the speech began and ended with foreign policy, the heart of it was domestic policy – with a heavy focus on job creation. Unlike in September, when the economy was at its absolute worst, Obama could point to a recent run of (moderately) good news about overall growth and job creation. And he could boast about the results of what has become his administration’s most unambiguous success: The rescue of General Motors and Chrysler, which has been a catalyst for a rebirth of American manufacturing in the Midwest."

-Jonathan Cohn, "Obama:Make the Economy Work…for Everybody"

Photo courtesy of grio.com.

A recovery or another headfake?

Is this an economic recovery actually worthy of its name?

"There have certainly been several headfakes before (remember ‘green shoots’ and ‘Recovery Summer’), but, to borrow a dangerous phrase, this time might be different. Economic data has surprised on the upside for the past few months, and the December jobs report continued this positive trend. The headline unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent on 200,000 net jobs added in the month—which, while not a fast enough pace to bring down unemployment to pre-recession levels till the mid 2020s, still represents a substantial acceleration over the past year."

- Matt O’Brien, “A Recovery, Or Another Headfake?

Also, be sure to check out TNR Senior Editor Timothy Noah’s blog, where he takes on the odd contention that all white working class voters are Republican.

Photo courtesy of Alaska in Pictures.

How should liberals approach Occupy Wall Street?
"To draw on the old cliché, the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. Just because liberals are frustrated with Wall Street does not mean that we should automatically find common cause with a group of people who are protesting Wall Street. Indeed, one of the first obligations of liberalism is skepticism—of governments, of arguments, and of movements. And so it is important to look at what Occupy Wall Street actually believes and then to ask two, related questions: Is their rhetoric liberal, or at least a close cousin of liberalism? And is this movement helpful to the achievement of liberal aims?"
-The Editors, “Protests and Power,” in TNR’s November 3rd issue.
Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
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How should liberals approach Occupy Wall Street?
"To draw on the old cliché, the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. Just because liberals are frustrated with Wall Street does not mean that we should automatically find common cause with a group of people who are protesting Wall Street. Indeed, one of the first obligations of liberalism is skepticism—of governments, of arguments, and of movements. And so it is important to look at what Occupy Wall Street actually believes and then to ask two, related questions: Is their rhetoric liberal, or at least a close cousin of liberalism? And is this movement helpful to the achievement of liberal aims?"
-The Editors, “Protests and Power,” in TNR’s November 3rd issue.
Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Zoom Info
How should liberals approach Occupy Wall Street?
"To draw on the old cliché, the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. Just because liberals are frustrated with Wall Street does not mean that we should automatically find common cause with a group of people who are protesting Wall Street. Indeed, one of the first obligations of liberalism is skepticism—of governments, of arguments, and of movements. And so it is important to look at what Occupy Wall Street actually believes and then to ask two, related questions: Is their rhetoric liberal, or at least a close cousin of liberalism? And is this movement helpful to the achievement of liberal aims?"
-The Editors, “Protests and Power,” in TNR’s November 3rd issue.
Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Zoom Info

How should liberals approach Occupy Wall Street?

"To draw on the old cliché, the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. Just because liberals are frustrated with Wall Street does not mean that we should automatically find common cause with a group of people who are protesting Wall Street. Indeed, one of the first obligations of liberalism is skepticism—of governments, of arguments, and of movements. And so it is important to look at what Occupy Wall Street actually believes and then to ask two, related questions: Is their rhetoric liberal, or at least a close cousin of liberalism? And is this movement helpful to the achievement of liberal aims?"

-The Editors, “Protests and Power,” in TNR’s November 3rd issue.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

President Obama’s new rhetoric is starting to convince even the pickiest of voters. 

And Independents, too, now favor Obama on jobs, by 44-31, a big shift from 37-42 in September. And not only do Democrats support Obama’s jobs plan and believe it will improve the jobs situation, but so too do independents, by margins of 47-38 and 52-44, respectively. Moderates, meanwhile, are even more enthusiastic—support figures among this group are 5-9 points higher than among Independents on all these questions. As for raising taxes on the rich: Bring it on! By 65-28, Independents favor raising taxes on households with over a million dollars in income.”

-Ruy Teixeira, “Obama’s New Populism Isn’t Alienating Moderates.”

Poll courtesy of CBS News.

Have Republicans lost their economic marbles?

"The most important thing to understand about the Republican jobs agenda is that it’s not really a jobs agenda. That sounds simplistic and harsh, but I think it’s true, at least if you buy into the mainstream economic consensus."

- Jonathan Cohn, “The GOP’s Uncertainty Canard”

Read more of Jonathan Cohn’s breakdown of the GOP jobs agenda, here

Courtesy of the Economic Policy Institute