One of the most astute responses to Friday’s jobs numbers, which showed a slight uptick in employment, came from Commentary editor John Podhoretz. Podhoretz notices something important about the diminished lives of the employed:
[T]he political problem for the president is not the tragedy of life for the unemployed, though it is the most painful fact about the lingering economic malaise. The political problem is the condition of the employed.
It is the reversal of fortunes and the reversal of expectations that is primarily responsible for the 3/5ths to 2/3rds of Americans who say the country is on the wrong track. Many of those who are well-employed get fewer raises than they did, and are likely working harder because their employers have fewer people on the payroll.
The ability of people to move from job to job has been hampered—as has the upward effect of such job changes on their wages. Most important, the 64 percent of American households that own their own homes has seen a 20-40 percent decline in their own wealth, as the home in question is usually their largest investment.
Emily has already commented on the large number of part-time jobs that contributed to the slight lowering of the unemployment rate. The difficulties of living on a part-time salary when what the worker really wants is a full-time job are highlighted again today in the Wall Street Journal:
Working part time is certainly preferable to not working at all, but it's tough to pay the mortgage, energy, medical and grocery bills with a 20-hour-a-week job. The job market has been bad for so long that people are settling for any paycheck they can get. One suspect in this shift to part-time work is the cost of providing health insurance, especially with ObamaCare looming.
A small business that employs 50 people is required to provide health insurance under Obamacare. Solution: don’t get above the 50 mark. The giddiness over the current jobs numbers only serves to show just how bad things really are:
Democrats are celebrating the decline in the jobless rate, which only shows how their standards have changed since President Obama entered the White House. In 2004, they were lambasting George W. Bush for a September jobless rate that was 5.4%. Only last month they were begging the Federal Reserve to print more money indefinitely because the job market was so weak. Now they say happy days are almost here again.
One other interesting fact about unemployment: it is 4.3 percent among government workers.
In other words, America, we're paying with our tax dollars to ensure that folks in the most bloated and protected sector of the economy don't face the same trials and tribulations the rest of us face. Just throwing that out: debate among yourselves.