Political Animal


May 03, 2013 8:53 AM If Not for the Sequester….

By Ed Kilgore

So the April Jobs Report is out, and net job growth for the month was 165,000 as opposed to the consensus expectation of 144,000. The number that most Americans focus on, the unemployment rate, ticked down slightly to 7.5%. But the real news was in upward revisions of the jobs numbers for the last two months: March was revised from 88,000 to 138,000, and February from 268,000 to 332,000 (!).

It’s beginning to become hard to deny that the economy was working on a serious recovery that has slowed down significantly. Perhaps it’s a coincidence this has almost entirely coincided with the imposition and gradual impact of the appropriations sequester; perhaps not. Since that impact is only now really beginning to appear, we may soon find out.

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.


  • c u n d gulag on May 03, 2013 9:00 AM:

    GOP POV:
    Is the economy really slowing down?


    Oh, that's too bad. Must be the failed Liberal agenda of that KenyanSocialistFascistCommunistHeathenMuslimAtheist Usurper and his DemocRAT pals.

    Good thing we're slowing that down, huh?


  • sjw on May 03, 2013 9:32 AM:

    Can we have a full-throated repeated-several-times-in succession endorsement of Keynes and stimulus and a loud criticism of austerity and the economic dangers of the sequester from Obama? Is that too much to ask? Why does everything have to be in a low-key let's-love-each-other kumbaya mode with this guy? Republicans kick sand in his face every single day and Obama just smiles meekly. It's embarrassing and pitiful.

  • clarence swinney on May 03, 2013 10:26 AM:

    Can he get it done? His very late budget.
    The latest Grand Bargain is thru the Senate using Budget Reconciliation
    which removes the filibuster. Then it goes to the House, where only a small number of Republicans are needed to pass it. Tell Democrats in the House they will lose their jobs if they vote against Social Security and Medicare. Go For It.

  • bleh on May 03, 2013 10:27 AM:

    No no, you have it all wrong! See, the sequester worked! Just like austerity is working in Europe! We did it, something good happened later, and therefore it was a good thing to do! It is inexorable logic! All hail the sequester!

  • Anonymous on May 03, 2013 12:55 PM:

    can we also point out that tax raise on the rich since january seem to have no negative affects?

    i think america had bumps like euro crisis, arab spring, natural disasters, and of course debt ceiling failure. but it seems that economy is moving slowly and surely upward despite of austerity since 2011 because democrats had just enough stimulus going until 2012.

    I'm hoping that Obamacare implementation would work as boost to the economy as well as immigration reform. once economy is strong enough, obama/democrats are in a better position to negotiate medicare and social security reform as well as tax reform.
    i'm kinda optimistic that republicans are miscalculating their hands.

  • boatboy_srq on May 03, 2013 1:18 PM:

    Be on the lookout for some very unhappy Reichwing whinging from around the Beltway and other places where all those Big Gubmint dollars they denounce (but quietly take anyway) are suddenly becoming scarce. One big reason northern VA wasn't on board with the bank bailouts, loans to the auto industry, stimulus spending, etc. was that there was absolutely no sign of any of it being necessary in their backyards. This time around, for a change, the impact is being felt right at home as the contractors headquartered in Beltway suburbs start feeling the pinch.

  • PTate in MN on May 03, 2013 5:26 PM:

    "It's beginning to become hard to deny that the economy was working on a serious recovery that has slowed down significantly"

    Okay, I am deeply liberal, and I hate the sequester, but I don't get this claim. Two things have happened to the economy since January 1. First, we have higher tax rates for the Richies and higher payroll taxes for the Joes. What I want to believe is that higher tax rates will not slow the economy. The second thing is that the sequester is happening, d*** you, Republicans! What I believe is that this pointless austerity will hurt the economy but that its full impact has not yet hit.

    What I see, at least in these numbers, is job growth in April that is above what was predicted; steady job growth ((Feb) 332,000, (March) 138,000, (April) 165,000)--not brilliant but better than under Bush--plus a decline in unemployment. That does not suggest to me that the economy was working on a serious recovery that is being slowed. It suggests that the recovery is sputtering along, not really getting better but not getting worse.

    What I conclude is that higher tax rates have not hurt the economy, and that the sequester has not yet taken effect.

    So why the glum face?