The May unemployment numbers are out and they are grim. Only 69,000 new jobs were added, well off the 200,000 per month new jobs being added in the early months of the year. The unemployment rate ticked up to 8.2 percent.
I do not believe President Obama bears primary responsibility for the anemic economy. And, I am shocked that so many people seem so willing to embrace the kind of laissez-faire economic policies that got us into this mess in the first place, both in terms of causing the 2008 meltdown and in terms of adopting the Bush tax cuts which undermined the government's long-term fiscal health. Also ironic that what we need is some good old-fashioned stimulus, and that, too, cannot be enacted because of GOP austerity orthodoxy.
My fault against Obama is that he has never laid the rhetorical groundwork over the past three years to frame the election he now faces. His messaging on the economy has been all over the place, sometimes touting his tax cuts, sometimes his stimulus, never sticking with a single theme for mor than a week or two. And, behind it all, stands the figure of Secretary Geithner. After Wall Street's recklessness brought on the worst economic crisis in decades, and now that Wall Street has largely recovered, it should not be hard for a Democrat to make the case that something is wrong with a system that brings recovery to the perpetrators first and leaves the victims still standing in the unemployment line.