The President might be on vacation, but he still finds ways to upset Republicans with good news. Yes, there was more welcome economic news on Thursday as the Labor Department said that weekly applications for unemployment insurance dropped to the fewest claims since October 2007.
The Labor Department said that the 4-week average was at the lowest since November 2007, according to The Washington Post. By either measurement, this is a great improvement, marking a 6-year low and that’s something to breathe a cautious sigh of relief over, if not celebrate (unless, of course, you’re cheering on the demise of America because a black Democrat is in office and you only feel “patriotic” when you win).
From the Labor Department:
In the week ending August 10, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 320,000, a decrease of 15,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 335,000. The 4-week moving average was 332,000, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 336,000.
The folks at Calculated Risk blog created a helpful graph (click to enlarge):
It’s worth pointing out where some of the new unemployment insurance (UI) benefit claims are coming from — federal civilian employees (hello Sequester cuts) and newly discharged veterans. The following is unadjusted data from the Labor Department:
Initial claims for UI benefits filed by former Federal civilian employees totaled 1,713 in the week ending August 3, a decrease of 436 from the prior week. There were 2,235 initial claims filed by newly discharged veterans, an increase of 30 from the preceding week.
There were 21,830 former Federal civilian employees claiming UI benefits for the week ending July 27, an increase of 1,234 from the previous week. Newly discharged veterans claiming benefits totaled 34,470, an increase of 158 from the prior week.
In Texas, where Rick Perry has been making noise about running for President on his platform of taking women back to the dark ages whilst creating “jobs” (also known as using federal subsidies — that’s “welfare” in Republicanese — for big oil to benefit your state’s job numbers by giving planet destroyers unfettered power and control to poison the land, water, and air), the state provided no comment regarding the +1,151 increase in initial unemployment claims.
Is the job crisis over? Not by a long shot. Republicans in Congress dealt their death blow to the recovery in the form of the scattershot cuts courtesy of the sequester. House Republicans are still refusing to sit down for the budget reconciliation process, which means that the economically-damaging sequester cuts (and forced layoffs and furloughs) will continue.
House Republicans were unable to face the daunting task of living up to Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan’s budget — yes, he’s their budget guru and yes, this means that they can’t walk their talk and yes it also proves that Paul Ryan is to budgets what Ayn Rand is to economic philosophy; i.e., only operates in the land of fiction.
What we have here is good news that companies are laying off fewer workers, but not the great news that we are adding good paying jobs to the system (payroll growth). The economy is recovering in spite of Republicans’ best efforts, but things could be a lot better if only we had a House of Representatives that wasn’t run by Tea Party nihilist know-and-do nothings. Remember President Obama’s rather heroic efforts to get Republicans to pass a jobs bill? He even broke it down into teeny, tiny bites for them so they could read it and everything. No go. However, Speaker John Boehner is still desperately trying to pass off the Keystone Pipeline as a jobs bill.
Picture D.C. as a bunch of frustrated but determined parents carrying dozens of screaming, tantrum-throwing children down the candy aisle of obstruction. The snot of poutrage dripping down their faces, the children shriek at the top of their lungs, “But I wanna defund Obamacare!!!” As complete commentary on the modern day GOP, one only need note that Republicans elected the id-driven littles, whose only goal is immediate gratification of any destructive impulse they can muster up at headquarters. Freud explained the Id* but he could have been describing the Republican Party; it is “chaos, a cauldron full of seething excitations… (I)t has no organization, produces no collective will.”
In more bad news for the Littles, the government also reported that it’s on track to post its lowest annual budget gap in five years. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that the annual deficit will be $670 billion for 2013, which would mark the first year that the gap between spending and revenue has been below $1 trillion since 2008. No you can’t blame the 2009 budget on Obama, as the budgets are made the year before and the budget year ends Sept. 30.
Expect your conservative friends to respond to this good news with a hysterical non sequitur like, “Benghazi!” If Republicans can’t impose universally long-lasting gloom and despair on the half of America that they really, really hate, then they’re just going to close their eyes and pretend it exists until Mommy and Daddy let them sleep with the Fox light on.
*Sigmund Freud, New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis 1933, pp. 105-6
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.