Political Animal


May 04, 2012 8:53 AM April Showers

By Ed Kilgore

It’s official: another “disappointing” jobs report for April, but nothing that can be spun as a catastrophe; “slowing growth” could be accurate, though we’ll hear “sputtering recovery” from conservative outlets, and maybe be played some scary tapes of the wolf of “double-dip recession” howling nearby.

Net new jobs up 115,000, with the unemployment rate down a tick at 8.1% (but with slighly lower workforce participation, which makes it a wash). A lot of indicators basically flat. The best news is upward revisions of the March net new jobs number from 120k to 154k, and of the February number from 240k to 259k. I would note that the “disappointing” March jobs figure now comes in at above the “magic number” of 150k that Nate Silver has suggested would be necessary monthly to put the president in a strong position for re-election.

We’ll be hearing lots of spin and counter-spin on the April jobs number all day and through the weekend. Expect conservatives to cut quite a few capers even as they try to appear somber. They know what struggling workers need: Tax cuts for job creators! Austerity for everyone else!

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • DAY on May 04, 2012 9:08 AM:

    Too often overlooked is the fact we live in a consumer driven economy.
    And the consumer is either broke, or prudently saving any spare cash for the NEXT rainy day that the Masters of the Universe create.

    During WWII we were admonished to "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

  • stormskies on May 04, 2012 9:09 AM:

    Obama should use this an another opportunity to remind the country that he tried to pass a Jobs Bill that would have allowed 3 to 4 million Americans to have jobs by investing in the need to rebuild our infrastructure. But, as ever, this Jobs Bill was blocked by the Repiglicans.

    He should shout from the rooftops about this, over and over.

  • c u n d gulag on May 04, 2012 9:17 AM:

    "They know what struggling workers need: Tax cuts for job creators! Austerity for everyone else!"

    You forgot "regulations."

    How can our sainted "Job Creators (All kneel... Let us pray for them... All Rise!)" create jobs when their hands are shackled by Liberal regulations?

    Just think how much wealth a person could save for their retirement (if they survive) if they started working at age 5?

    And think of how much more dignity they'll have if they pay more as a percentage in taxes than their betters, the "Job Creators (All kneel... Let us pray for them... All Rise!)" who might... uhm... er... WILL... shower them with job... er... uhm... jobS!

    I can hardly wait to see how these reactionary turds fit this into their new motto that they hope becomes a meme: "Obama's 'hope and change' is now 'shame and blame!"

    They're depending on the stupidity and short memories of the American people, and that they'll forget that the 'shame' should land squarely on the shoulders the shameless Republicans, who deserve every atom of 'blame' for the devolution of the nation.

  • T2 on May 04, 2012 9:23 AM:

    glad you are back, gulag.
    As I said yesterday, the GOP has but one platform to run on in the election - "Obama is bad". If the job report had been 815k jobs instead of 115k, they would have said "not enough, proof of failed Obama policies". Because that's all they can say...that's all they have.
    While the jobs report is less than good, it is better than the ones we got in the last year of the last GOPer president - George W. Bush. As we all know now, key Republicans met as soon as Obama was elected to concoct a plan to make him fail, and they've worked hard to do that. And the key to it was making sure the economy that they, the GOP, ruined, stays ruined until they can "take the country back" to a white rich president.

  • Mitt's Magic Underpants on May 04, 2012 9:24 AM:

    No -- we need more anti-abortion and anti-gay laws. THOSE will turn the economy around!

  • Ron Byers on May 04, 2012 9:26 AM:

    Guys, the report is a push. Disappoint is a more appropriate descripter than disaster.

    We won't have really spectacular growth again until the rest of the world dumps austerity.

    We are where we are because Obama has been able to pass some stimulus. The Citizens United crowd continually attacks the stimulus, but look at where the American economy turned around. The Europeans who have fully embraced Republican policies are still in the toilet.

    Stop believing the anti-Obama attack ads.

  • delNorte on May 04, 2012 9:40 AM:

    Perhaps the revisions of the Feb. and March numbers (+53K) should be added to the current number, since the revisions will likely be overlooked by the naysayers. Which would mean we have a "revised" net new job number of +168,000.

  • ElegantFowl on May 04, 2012 9:53 AM:

    Time to reintroduce the American Jobs Act, vetoed by the Republican party last fall.

  • c u n d gulag on May 04, 2012 9:54 AM:

    It ain't us!

    WE don't believe them.

    It's the rubes, dopes, dupes, and marks (aka: the moderate/independent voter), out there who tune in to the MSM for their information, and get nothing but Republican talking points and meme's, and swallow them whole.

  • Ron Byers on May 04, 2012 10:07 AM:

    Why is it the MSM only repeats Republican talking points?

    Maybe one reason is the Democrats don't push their own talking points.

    Maybe another is a close horserace is in the long term best interests of the MSM who are trying to sell products.

    Maybe a third is the MSM is owned lock stock and barrel by a handful of rightwing giant media corporations.

    Maybe a fourth is the really big news "personalities" are all members of the 1% and they don't understand that their fortunes are tied to a really successful middle class their bosses want to raid.

    There might be more, but the last might be we progressives don't take the opportunity to share the truth with our friends and relatives. We don't write enough letters to the editor and op-eds. We don't take enough reporters to lunch.

  • T2 on May 04, 2012 10:24 AM:

    Ron Byers "Why is it the MSM only repeats Republican talking points?" - you answer your own question. THe Media is owned, for the most part, by die-hard Conservative billionaires whose interest is with Conservative Billionaires. They don't have to be as blatant as FOX, they just have to hire people who understand that if they want their jobs, slant the damn facts to favor people who lie, and confuse the rest of the issues with "both sides do it" bullsh*t.

  • Peter C on May 04, 2012 10:27 AM:

    As @T2 says, the Republicans decided to do all they could to make sure the economy (which Bush crashed) stayed bad in order to sabotage the Obama presidency and limit Obama to one term. They could pursue this strategy because the 1% have a huge cushion of amassed wealth to draw upon in bad economic times. They don't have to sell a house if they move to change jobs (for example). They can wait and sell later. They don't have to sell their 401K when the price is low.

    So, when people ask "Why would the rich Republicans WANT to keep the economy bad; doesn't that hurt them too?", the answer is "no, it doesn't hurt them. They've got the resources to weather a bad economy and the money to snap up the bargains created by the rest of us who have to sell at a loss just to get by."

  • Doug on May 04, 2012 8:47 PM:

    Ron Buyers, it's very likely that the "media" ALSO lives in its' own bubble, a la the (in)famous "Beltway Pundits". I mean, it's not as if the reporting from cable/network/print sources shows any signs of actually LEAVING Washington.
    Except, of course, for campaigns and such when they're STILL surrounded by the very same people...