Liberals must praise their god; it is a matter of religious conviction.
It was Thomas Paine who said that “to argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.” Many times it can feel fruitless to try and convince those who believe in amnesty, abortion on demand, universal healthcare, and spreading the wealth around, that what they believe is not only incoherent, but destructive. There are those who will defend to the teeth the leaders who express those incoherent policies, regardless of the ineptitude, or snake-like behavior of those leaders. Those are people who have run outside of the sphere of reason, and because of that, they cannot be reached. Those people certainly exist, however, there are also many who follow destructive leaders simply because they have not been properly educated, and are thus more apt to fall for propaganda. These people are the ones who need to be reached, and they are why I write.
Yesterday, I began pulling apart the threads of an article from MSNBC’s website, written by Steven Benen. In his piece, he made several extremely dubious claims, and I think it is necessary to not only counter his claims, but to refute them with evidence. His first two claims–that falling gas prices, and the rising stock market were Obama’s doing–were easily dispatched, and so I will continue with his last two claims.
Claim #3: Obama is responsible for falling unemployment, and we should be grateful.
This is a tricky one. Obama is indeed partially responsible for falling unemployment, but the areas in which he is in fact responsible aren’t necessarily positive. There are two factors to consider when the unemployment number drops, as it did prior to the election. First, how is the unemployment rate calculated? And second, how is “employment” defined? We hear that the unemployment rate is down below 6%, and we jump for joy. Wow, Obama is such a great president because he’s managed our recovery so well! But what’ really occurring that is leading to falling unemployment, and what is being spun?
When someone leaves the workforce entirely, they are no longer counted as “unemployed.” This number affects the unemployment percentage, making it go down. There is a running tally of Americans who have left the workforce entirely, as well as a percentage showing what portion of the American people are still in the workforce. Currently, the number of Americans who have left the workforce stands at 92.6 million–the highest it’s been since 1978. The percentage of Americans in the workforce stands at 62.7%. According to ZeroHedge.com, while the economy added 232,000 jobs in September, 315,000 left the workforce entirely. Doesn’t sound very good to me.
There’s also the factor of the civilian employment to population ratio, which is defined by Wikipedia as “a statistical ratio that measures the proportion of the country’s working-age population (ages 15 to 64 in most OECD countries) that is employed. This includes people that have stopped looking for work.” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, during the four years prior to the beginning of the great recession in 2008, the ratio was at or around between 62.3 – 62.9. When the country crashed, it fell to a low of 58.2 (occurring multiple times from 2008 through 2011). This past September, the number stood at 59.0, not growing since June, when it increased from 58.9. In July of 2008, the unemployment percentage stood at 5.8%s—just 0.1% shy of where it is now–but the ratio number was 62.2. Now that unemployment is back to 5.9%, why isn’t the ratio number back to, or at least near 62.2? To put it differently, if the ratio has remained well below pre-crash numbers, how has the unemployment rate fallen from a high of 10.2% in October of 2009 back down to 5.9%? Moreover, if the ratio number didn’t grow since June, how did unemployment fall from 6.1% to 5.9% over the same period of time? Two reasons, Americans leaving the workforce, and part-time work.
Another deceptive factor behind the declining unemployment rate is how “employment” is defined. According to a July, 2014 article from US News & World Report: “Most people will have the impression we created 288,000 jobs in June – meaning full-time jobs. Not so. Full-time jobs plunged by over half a million, or 523,000. What’s increased is part-time jobs. They soared by about 800,000 to over 28 million.” Part-time work is reflected in the unemployment percentage. While millions have left the workforce entirely, many who are getting hired are only being hired part-time. That is not something to celebrate, and it should be noted when new jobs numbers emerge–but that would make Obama look bad, so we can’t have that.
Once again, according to the same US News article: “Last month the ranks of involuntary part-timers swelled to 7.5 million, compared to 4.4 million in 2007. Way too many adults are dependent on the low-wage, part-time jobs that teenagers would normally fill. On top of that unwelcome record, the number of people who’ve been out of work for more than six months is around 3 million, well above the historical average…Part-time work accounted for more than 65 percent of positions added in the last year. Low-paying retailers, restaurants and bars have provided 61 percent of the nation’s job growth.”
We have a recovery in which those who were previously employed full-time are either out of work, or being hired part-time for lower pay, and fewer if any benefits. So the unemployment rate is 5.9%, isn’t that great?! Not really. It’s a phony number propped up by part-time employment, and people leaving the workforce entirely. We are struggling through an extremely sluggish recovery, and those who don’t know any better are celebrating Obama’s grand jobs numbers.
Claim #4: Obama has shrunk the deficit, and that means we are recovering.
Ah, the deficit. I would wager a chunk of change that most people have no idea what the deficit is. Yet when they can use the words “shrinking deficit” to defend their King in the Oval Office, they will go right ahead, and use terms that they don’t fully understand. According to Christine Harbin Hanson of Town Hall, the deficit “is the difference between the amount that the government taxes in as revenue and the amount that it spends in a given year. There are only two ways to cut the deficit: raise revenue or cut spending.” So, how has Obama shrunk the deficit? He has raised taxes, and cut spending. Oh wait, the only reason it appears as though he cut spending is because in his first years in office, the deficit was over one trillion dollars. According to The Week: “Ever since 2009, when the recession and the stimulus package pushed the annual budget deficit to a peak of nearly $1.5 trillion, it has been falling steadily. Last year it came in at $680 billion; this year it is projected to total $492 billion.” So good on you, Obama, you’ve shrunk the deficit…which you made skyrocket in the first place.
In 2008, the deficit was $498 billion, and at that time, when Obama was still campaigning for the presidency, he said this of the $498 billion deficit: “The problem is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years, is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first forty-two presidents – number forty-three added $4 trillion all by his lonesome – so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we’re going to have to pay back – $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.”
Unpatriotic? Come now, Mr. President, it can’t be! Side note–the national debt under Obama has now risen to $17.5 trillion. Regardless of your opinion of the stimulus package, and whether or not it was necessary, no sane individual can look at the current deficit and thank Obama for it. It’s like a rich teenager telling her parents that because she only spent $200 on clothes this month, as opposed to the $2000 she spent last month, she should be praised. Nope.
I’ve written enough times about Obamacare, and the negative effects of socialized medicine that I’m not going to bother with his final claim regarding healthcare for all. At 1,400 words, you get the drift. As I said before, the left is populated by people who refuse to think critically, and that refusal leads them to support people like Barack Obama. However, if you look just beneath the surface, and dig into the numbers being sold by the administration, and the media, you will find that life is not so simple.
Yes, there are those who repost, and believe arguments like the one being made by Steve Benen, and they are sometimes unreachable. They have abandoned logic, and are outside our grasp. But there are those who can be reached, and it is our responsibility to educate those people by not onlytelling them that the Democrats are wrong, but by showing them how they are wrong. If we don’t do this, then we might as well give up now.