The Edmond Sun

Opinion

November 3, 2012

Jobs numbers help Obama

EDMOND — Given the state of the economic news from the past year, the president couldn’t have asked for a better jobs report than the one he received Friday. Coming just four days before an extremely tight election, the jobs report provided the president with the ammunition to support his claim that the economy continues to improve.

On Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly Employment Situation Report (as it does on the first Friday of every month), which showed that the U.S. economy added 184,000 private-sector jobs in October. This marks the 32nd consecutive month of private-sector job growth during which time the economy added nearly 5 million new private-sector jobs. This also means that with two more months like October, 2012 will go down as the third best job creation year since 2000 (2011 was the second best).

In short, the data provide more evidence that the economy is improving. But it could have been, and should have been even better if Congress had done more.

Perhaps the most striking statistic from this economic recovery is not the increase in the number of unemployed, or the time it has taken to recover. Those are both to be expected given the severity of the financial crisis we were in during 2008. No, the most striking statistic is how government employment has shrunk during President Obama’s first term.

Consider the post-war U.S. economy. The change in government employment during presidential terms, according to figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, has been:

• Truman: +1.1 million jobs

• Eisenhower: +1.7 million jobs

• Kennedy/Johnson: +3.5 million jobs

• Nixon/Ford: +2.9 million jobs

• Carter: +1.3 million jobs

• Reagan: +1.4 million jobs

• Bush I: +1.1 million jobs

• Clinton: +1.9 million jobs

• Bush II: +1.7 million jobs

• Obama: -544,000 jobs

Yes, the only president since World War II who has actually shrunk the size of government (as measured by the number of government jobs) is Barack Obama.

Historically, during recessions Congress approves a set of stimulus proposals — proposals that significantly increase government employment including jobs for teachers and firefighters. Yet, during what was undoubtedly the darkest economic days this country has seen since the Great Depression, when the economy needed such a boost, Congress actually decreased government employment. As a result, the level of unemployment remains higher than it should have. Afterall, you cannot fight unemployment by laying off more teachers.

This is why economists have been calling on Congress to pass legislation like the American Jobs Act which private firms estimate would have created an additional 1-2 million jobs thus further cementing our path to recovery. This is why Congress should have done more to boost aid to states who were forced to enact large tax increases or spending cuts to balance their budgets. This is why this Congress has failed us.

MICKEY HEPNER is the dean of the College of Business Administration at the University of Central Oklahoma. Hepner serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors for The Oklahoma Academy.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Sheltons travel for better life for family

    Some time around 1865 a mixed-race African American couple, William and Mary Shelton, made their way from Mississippi to east Texas. Nothing is known for certain of their origins in he Magnolia state, or the circumstances under which they began their new lives in Texas.

    July 29, 2014

  • Film critic Turan produces book

    Kenneth Turan, who is the film critic for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” has written a book “Not to be Missed, Fifty-Four Favorites from a Life Time of Film.” His list of movies span the gamut from the beginnings of filmmaking through the present day.
    There are some surprising omissions on his list. While he includes two films, “A Touch of Evil” and Chimes at Midnight” made by Orson Welles, and one, “The Third Man,” that Welles starred in but did not direct. He did not however, include “Citizen Kane,” that was the first movie Welles made, that is  often cited by both film critics and historians as a favorite film.

    July 28, 2014

  • Logan County’s disputed zone

    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at www.edmondsun.com show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

  • Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma

    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

    This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.

    July 25, 2014

  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Technology that will stimulate journalism’s future is now here

    To say technology has changed the newspaper media industry is understating the obvious. While much discussion focuses on how we read the news, technology is changing the way we report the news. The image of a reporter showing up to a scene with a pen and a pad is iconic but lost to the vestiges of time.
    I am asked frequently about the future of newspapers and, in particular, what does a successful future look like. For journalists, to be successful is to command multiple technologies and share news with readers in new and exciting ways.

    July 23, 2014

  • New Orleans features its own “Running of the Bulls”

    On July12, the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans were filled with thousands of young men who were seeking to avoid being hit with plastic bats wielded by women on roller skates as part of the annual “Running of the Bulls” that takes place in New Orleans.
    The event is based on the “Running of the Bulls” that occurs in Pamplona, Spain, that is  part of an annual occurrence in which a group of bulls rampage through the streets of Pamplona while men run from them to avoid being gored by their sharp horns. That event was introduced to the English-speaking world by Ernest Hemingway, who included scenes from it in his critically acclaimed 1926 novel “The Sun also Rises.”

    July 22, 2014

Poll

The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
Undecided
     View Results