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March 04, 2011

Jay Cost: 8% Unemployment in 2012 Means Likely Defeat For Barack Hussein Obama

8% seems doable (at least to Obama's optimists), so that is being predicted to be the win/lose threshold.

I think there's some liberal narrative mischief in this idea. Cost says that the idea that 8% is the threshold is popping up all over the media. This may be battlefield preparation, by establishing it in the public's mind that if the unemployment rate drops to the still-hideously-high level of 8%, Obama's done his job, and deserves reelection.

They've done this before with Obama, again and again, lowering the threshold for what in the public's mind should be considered "success." Obama is the first president in history to benefit from the lax, vague, impossible to define standard of jobs lost versus jobs saved or created; every other president was judged on jobs lost versus jobs created, no "saved" category. (And even that lax standard proved too tough for Obama to succeed by: later spin had it that his job "creation" figures should be based on just on jobs created, nor jobs created or saved, but ultimately jobs funded or saved or created.)

Is this then an attempt to spin a vicious, soul-crushing unemployment rate of 8% as some kind of success for a president so if Obama reaches this relatively doable level (or anywhere near it -- I have a feeling that 8.7% will do in a pinch) he should be congratulated?

It's either that or wishful thinking on the part of his stalwarts. Or a mixture of both.

Cost plots the data and determines that in five elections where the unemployment rate was above 7% (not 8%), the incumbent party lost four out of five times. The sole winner in this group of over-7%-unemployment was Reagan in 1984, and Regan benefited from the fact that the unemployment rate was just above 7% and, critically, that the economy grew at a very-high rate of 7.2% that year -- so while the public could still feel the pain of unemployment, they were also aware that there had just been a sizable burst of GDP growth which would translate into falling unemployment shortly. (Which it did.)

If Obama's at over 8%, unless there is some Reagan-like burst of growth this year, the data suggest he's in trouble.

On the other hand, I think that the Democratic Party now consists largely of people nearly immune to economic factors -- students who get their money from their parents, the dependent poor that gets their money from government, a dependent middle-class of unionists who depend on the government to side with them in disputes with management and thus are indirectly dependent on the government for wages, and a goverment worker class, which, is a dependent middle class that is strictly dependent on the government for its wages.

The benefit of being the Party of Government is that the Party of Government can immunize its ever-growing number of dependents against the baleful effects of a recession (or depression). The Party of Government voters never face layoffs and cutbacks; only the voters of the Party of Wealth Creation are vulnerable to such cycles. And the Party of Government can always tax the Party of Wealth Creators even more heavily if it gets into a pinch.

The Party of Wealth Creators doesn't have the power to tax the party of government.

So, I don't know. Cost's analysis is interesting but I wonder if the rules haven't changed enough that a high-unemployment president can get re-elected simply because he has so many voters functioning in a parallel government-economy unaffected by changes in the real economy.


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posted by Ace at 03:40 PM

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