On the heels of a May jobs report showing “anemic” growth and higher unemployment, Gallup writes today, “[H]iring remains seven to eight points below early 2008. That is, current job creation has not returned to its levels of nearly 3 ½ years ago, when the recession got underway. On an absolute basis, job creation in 2011 is better than it was over the same five months in 2009 and 2010. At the same time, new jobs are being created at an anemic pace compared with what is needed to lower the U.S. unemployment rate, and the rate of improvement this year compared with last is declining. These trends are consistent with Gallup’s recent unemployment report showing there has been virtually no improvement in the current jobs situation year over year.”
It’s understandable, then, that The Washington Post reports today, “The public opinion boost President Obama received after the killing of Osama bin Laden has dissipated, and Americans’ disapproval of how he is handling the nation’s economy and the deficit has reached new highs, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. The survey portrays a broadly pessimistic mood in the country this spring as higher gasoline prices, sliding home values and a disappointing employment picture have raised fresh concerns about the pace of the economic recovery.”
According to The Post, “By 2 to 1, Americans say the country is pretty seriously on the wrong track, and nine in 10 continue to rate the economy in negative terms. Nearly six in 10 say the economy has not started to recover, regardless of what official statistics may say, and most of those who say it has improved rate the recovery as weak. . . . Overall, about six in 10 of those surveyed give Obama negative marks on the economy and the deficit. Significantly, nearly half strongly disapprove of his performance in these two crucial areas. Nearly two-thirds of political independents disapprove of the president’s handling of the economy, including — for the first time — a slim majority who do so strongly.”
Interestingly, The Post also notes, “In another indicator of rapidly shifting views on economic issues, 45 percent trust congressional Republicans over the president when it comes to dealing with the economy, an 11-point improvement for the GOP since March.” That percentage is greater than the 42% who say they trust the president more.
Speaking on the floor yesterday, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell explained how things got to this point. “[W]hile some in Washington have sought to paper over our economic problems, or offer weak assurances that a recovery is right around the corner, millions of Americans continue to suffer — with no end in sight. And very few people are confident that things will turn around anytime soon. It’s no secret why. For two and a half years, Democrats in Washington have paid lip service to the idea of job creation while pursuing an agenda that is radically opposed to it. And the results speak for themselves. They told us that if we borrowed a trillion dollars and spent it, unemployment wouldn’t rise above 8 percent. Two and a half years later, unemployment is hovering above nine percent, higher than when the Stimulus was signed. They told us that if we spent trillions on a new health care entitlement we’d see health care costs go down. A year later, health care costs are expected to go up. They told us that if we spent money we didn’t have on things like cash for clunkers, turtle tunnels, solar panels and windmills — in other words, on more government — the recovery would take care of itself.”
“These past weeks should have been a wake-up call for Democrats,” Leader McConnell said. “They sent it through to voicemail. More concerned about an election that’s nearly two years away, Democrats have ignored every warning. Americans look at all this and ask themselves a simple question: when will these guys get serious?”
#Senate News Briefing