Reporter's Note: President Obama suggested many months ago that his stimulus plans for the economy would help tame unemployment. Unemployment, however, seems a little wilder than expected, as I note in today’s letter to the White House.
Dear Mr. President,
Eight percent. I can’t put it any more plainly. If you can’t get unemployment under eight percent, I imagine you are going to have one really difficult re-election campaign. And with the latest report at nine percent, it looks like you have some work to do.
I know that there are many different factors to consider. Unemployment is not everything. (Although, to be fair, when you are unemployed it certainly feels like everything.) Housing prices. National security. International trade. Debt. Inflation. The price of filling your tank at the gas station. All of those things could also play a big role in your re-election plans, but I still tend to think that unemployment is the biggest of those numbers.
You and others can explain away the percentages - offering explanations like, the percentage is up because more people are looking for work, meaning they are more optimistic that they’ll find it, and yadda yadda yadda. But I’m not sure that’s going to play in Peoria. Most voters will stick with a simple and reasonable formula: Higher unemployment is bad, lower unemployment is good.
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