I hate to say “I told you so,” but it looks like those rosy unemployment numbers from last week really were, as I asserted, just a blip on the radar.
Via Fox News:
Applications for weekly unemployment benefits spiked last week, largely because companies let go of thousands of workers after the holiday season.
Weekly applications rose by 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 399,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's the highest level in six weeks.
Remember, even though the numbers were rosy – unemployment was down to 8.5 percent, the lowest it’s been in three years – that figure doesn’t take into account the 945,000 “discouraged workers” who weren’t counted at all. If we were to factor those people in, the actual rate is closer to 9.1 percent (14,042,000 unemployed workers / 153,887,000 workers in the workforce).
Now let’s think back to January 2009 when President Obama pitched the stimulus bill to us. We were told that it had to happen to keep unemployment below 8 percent – if we didn’t spend all that money, unemployment would’ve crept up to 8.8 percent! Alas, their predictions were flawed – sorry about that $825 billion down the drain though. Next time it'll be different!
The stimulus was a grand Keynesian experiment – and looking at the results, a failed one. It should be apparent to the impartial observer that we can't spend our way out of this crisis. I think it's time we try a different tack going forward to get things back on track.
I'd love for us to shut down the favor factory that is Washington. I want clean spending bills that aren’t full of junked-up provisions and earmarks to buy support from legislators, or poison pills designed to kill legislation. I want a tax code that doesn’t try to encourage certain behaviors through rebates, incentives, and breaks, while discouraging other activities by raising the cost.
I’m tired of lobbyist-driven carveouts, special tax treatments, and earmarked spending. It’s this kind of insider wheeling-dealing, to-the-victor-go-the-spoils mentality that’s driven Americans of all political persuasions to the breaking point.