Obama's Economy: Job Losses Rising Faster than Dow

Forget the stock market. Sure, the Dow has made a stunning improvement since January 20. The market has jumped from just under 8,000 to over 10,000 – a 29 percent increase.

But that’s not the place to put your money. Unemployment is outpacing Wall Street just a bit. Joblessness went from 7.6 percent when Obama took office to 10.2 – a 34-percent increase. If you could invest in job loss, you’d be a big winner under the current president.

Clearly the people without jobs might not appreciate that philosophy. Who could blame them? For all that the media maligned the Bush administration over the economy, unemployment was better the entire time we had Bush II as president.

A lot better. Nearly half the time Bush was in office, unemployment was less than half what it is now. And only in the last two months of his tenure did it top 7 percent. Unfortunately for job seekers, Bush is jobless and Obama is the one looking out for their interests.

Only he isn’t. Obama has been on a jihad to get health care reform passed. He pushed the stimulus bill. He’s bailed out Wall Street and Detroit with mountains of cash we couldn’t count in our lifetimes. That money went to the politically connected. Bet you already know who they gave their money to this last election cycle. Hint: It wasn’t Republicans. 

The result is a job crisis we haven’t seen since the early ’80s. And what’s scary is the trend lines for the Dow and unemployment are almost identical. CNBC Chicago Board of Trade reporter Rick Santelli made the connection in a Nov. 6 appearance. As Santelli talked, a terrifying chart showed how, as the Dow hit 8,000, 9,000 and 10,000, unemployment hit 8, 9 and 10 percent. At this writing, the Dow is at 10,246.97 and unemployment is at 10.2 percent. That’s as close to a 1-to-1 correlation as you get.

Santelli told the “Fast Money,” audience the future looks bleak. “I shudder to think where the unemployment rate is going to be at 11 and 12,000 in the Dow.”

Despite Santelli’s alarm, most of the media have depicted the rise in stocks as if the economy is experiencing good news. There is a lot more to an economy than the Dow, but it didn’t look like the networks grasped that fact. The Dow “soared,” “climbed,” “shot up,” “gained” and pretty much every other synonym you could muster. When the Dow crossed 10,000 again, CBS anchor Katie Couric could only find the good news. “Tonight, Dow 10,000. The blue chip index hits that milestone for the first time in a year as investors give the economic recovery a vote of confidence.”

Back on Oct. 14, it was CBS “Evening News” Couric raving about the Dow. “The Dow gained more than one hundred forty-four points Wednesday to close at ten thousand fifteen. ... Since hitting bottom in March the Dow was up nearly fifty-three percent.” That especially upbeat comparison left out the 1,400 points the market had dropped from inauguration to March 6.

Before Obama started dumping taxpayer money into every big business under the sun, he also helped drive the market down. Still, 29 percent is a strong number and if it weren’t offset by far worse unemployment, Obama would have a right to crow – all day long if he wanted.

He doesn’t. Ordinary Americans know that it’s the joblessness number that is more important. It’s not just “the economy, stupid,” it’s jobs, you idiots. Americans have gotten used to amazingly good jobs numbers under Clinton and Bush. Now that has all come crashing down and Obama can’t keep blaming Bush forever.

Back in 2003, CNN Money told its readers that “6 percent unemployment was – in the early 1990s – considered by many economists to be ‘full employment.’” That “labor-market nirvana” meant that pretty much everybody who wanted a job had one. The article went on to say that the Congressional Budget Office believed “5.2 percent unemployment is the new standard for full employment.”

For more than two years, from December 2006 to February 2008, U.S. unemployment was even better than that – less than 5 percent. Twenty-seven straight months with joblessness averaging less than 4.7 percent. And much of that time, TV viewers were told the economy was doing poorly.

Bush suffered for that spin for eight years. Now it’s Obama’s turn. Journalists convinced the American public that good economic growth and low unemployment were bad economic times. Only one of those numbers has rebounded and the jobless know Obama hasn’t delivered. And no amount of news spin can make 10 percent unemployment look good.

Now, unemployment threatens to go higher still and jeopardize Democrats’ mid-term election prospects. The question is what craziness will Obama and desperate Dems try to pass to buy off the voters in 2010?

And how will Americans afford it?

Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. His column appears each week on The Fox Forum and he can be seen on Foxnews.com’s “Strategy Room.” He can also be contacted on FaceBook and Twitter as dangainor.

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Correction: This article was corrected 11/17/09 to fix attribution of a quote to make it clear it was said by Katie Couric. BMI regrets the error.