In a staff editorial published on Friday, the good folks over at Investor's Business Daily did a bang up job of putting this "economic recovery" in context. To wit:
Sure, the jobless rate is falling. But according to the Congressional Budget Office, we are going through the longest stretch of high unemployment since the Depression. The rate has been higher than 8% since February 2009, the month after Obama took office.
And, says the CBO, it is expected to stay above 8% through 2014.
Even worse for an administration straining to make the case that it deserves to be around for another four years is the real unemployment rate. It's not 8.3%, but closer to 15%, a figure that reflects those who "would like to work but have not searched for a job in the past four weeks as well as those who are working part time but would prefer full-time work," says the CBO.
Another White House problem comes from this in the CBO report: "The share of unemployed people looking for work for more than six months — referred to as the long-term unemployed — topped 40% in December 2009 for the first time since 1948, when such data began to be collected; it has remained above that level ever since."
This, it seems to me, is the broader case that the Republican nominee -- particularly if it's Mitt Romney, who has staked his entire candidacy on his economic competence -- needs to be making come the fall. The American people should not accept a reduction in their economic expectations so dramatic that they're willing to consider the president a master chef just for pushing a few table scraps their way.
With the final days of the election coinciding with Major League Baseball's playoff season, may I suggest that the Republican nominee employ a baseball analogy? With Obama on the mound, we've been getting blown out. He's given up eight runs and left us deep in the hole. Now he thinks he should stay in the game just because he got one lucky strikeout? The GOP's standard-bearer ought to suggest that there's only one rational thing to do under such circumstances: look to the bullpen while there's still enough time to win the game.