This morning WRAL.com ran an article by an AP Economics writer Chris Rugaber, on September’s jobless rate: 9.8 percent. After pointing out 7.2 million jobs have been eliminated and 15.1 million Americans are now out of work, Rugaber drops this gem:
The economy has received a boost from the Cash for Clunkers auto rebate program and other government stimulus efforts, but many economists believe that growth will slow in the current quarter and early next year as the impact of those programs fade.
The economy has received a boost? Really. You’d be hardpressed to find data that Cash for Clunkers has actually increased net demand. The government program has merely altered the time when people by cars. The dropoff in demand is already noticeable in the automotive industry.
Rugaber’s tangential reference to “other government stimulus efforts” is telling. Does this mean we’ve already relegated the $787 billion “stimulus” program to a mere footnote. Rugaber says the stimulus boosted the economy. Did it? The U.S. unemployment rate has increased from 6.2 (Sept. 2008) to 9.8 (Sept. 2009). Here in North Carolina, over the past year the unemployment rate has increased from 6.6 (Aug. 2008) to 10.8 (Aug. 2009). You tell me.
On more than one occasion, the current occupant of the White House has said we need to pass Federal stimulus legsislation as soon as possible to keep the unemployment rate below 8 percent.
There seems to be an inordinate amount of excitement surrounding next week’s release by the states of reports detailing how the state’s are spending stimulus money. Why? The lack of job growth and unemployment numbers tell the real story.
Earlier this spring the left criticized many Republicans for opposing the stimulus bill and calling the legislation nothing but a payoff for interest groups. Continued high unemployment and a slow job growth sure tests one’s resistance to crow. Maybe that’s why we’re nearly nine paragraphs into Rugaber’s story before we hear any reference about the stimulus and then only indirectly — a $787 billion dollar footnote…