Reporter's Note: President Obama did a little speed dating over the weekend, giving interviews to almost all the major TV news operations. I was pretty busy myself, but still found time to write my daily letters to the White House. Look, here’s one!
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/09/20/john.king.monday.memo/art.obama.king.cnn.jpg caption="President Obama interviewed by John King on CNN's Sunday morning show, State of the Union."]
Tom Foreman | Bio
Dear Mr. President,
Sometimes it seems as if I just can’t get everything done that I plan for the weekend before the work bell rings again. You must feel the same way, especially after your round robin of talk shows this weekend. I’m not utterly convinced that was a great idea because the reports that followed focused primarily on A) Why did you do it? And B) Did you get into any trouble in the process? Don’t fret too much about that. Much of it is just the nature of my profession. I know that people always say they want more positive news, but the simple truth is if we report that a president gave a series of interviews over the weekend and everything was peaches and cream, no one will pay any attention. So most of my media brethren tend to focus on what went wrong, or might have gone wrong, or will go wrong if we poke it with a sharp stick long enough.
As a result, the headline that jumped out to me most seemed to be the one where you said even if the economy rebounds solidly, joblessness could remain a serious problem well into next year. I know that is something that people don’t much want to hear in the unemployment lines, and you can’t blame them. I also know that it is terribly, dishearteningly, and painfully true. Every projection I’ve seen says the jobs will be slow in returning.
What is much more troubling, however, is the prospect of a jobless recovery which is something else I’ve heard mentioned a pretty good bit. As I understand it, even economists disagree as to what can make this happen. Some blame automation, and some outsourcing, and some phases of the moon. My theory? Jobless recoveries are born of fear, habit, and greed. Businesses, when they are not convinced a recovery is robust, hesitate to go back to the bigger staffs they had previously. After all, it actually did hurt to dump all those people and they don’t relish doing it again. Secondly, once a shop gets used to doing the job with less help, the boss may not feel inclined to change that. And lastly, if the business owner can make more money, while still spending less on people, I think many say: Why not?
My point is we have to see not only our economy recover, but also our faith in it. And both of those are tough tricks, no matter how many times you sit in the interview chair to say better times are coming. Speaking of which, I’ve got to get busy. Give me a ring if you have a moment. Hey, how about my Saints? Gooooo team!
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