Jimmy Carter Redux?
By Jerry Rogers
In his speech at Northwestern University last week, the president touted—as good news—the unemployment rate. He said that “by every economic measure, we are better off now than we were when I took office.”
By every economic measure, we are better off?
We know from the September Jobs Report that the unemployment rate has fallen to 5.9 percent. However, if you’re like most American workers, your earnings have declined or remained flat. Household income—for most Americans—is lower today than it was five years ago when the great recession officially ended.
Behind the rosy headlines celebrating the “rebounding” economy and the “reassuring” news of falling unemployment is the gloomy truth that the labor-force participation rate remains shockingly low—1970s, Jimmy Carter low. Earnings are stagnant because we have a surplus of workers sitting on the sidelines.
As I said here yesterday, the unemployment rate dropped because more people simply gave up looking for jobs. President Obama is failing as dramatically as did Jimmy Carter. The last time the labor force participation rate fell to 62.7 percent (today’s level) was during the Carter malaise in 1978. Let’s leave the late-70s behind us, and build an economy for the 21st Century.
Policy-makers need to pass meaningful market-based reforms that will liberate entrepreneurs from taxes and costly, job-killing regulations. The health of America’s economy depends on start-ups and new businesses being able to obtain capital, expand research, and grow into public companies that can hire people while bringing new products to market.
We can do better, and I’ll be exploring how at the CapAllies Post as we lead up to the midterm elections. Stay tuned.