October 8th, 2011
04:28 PM ET

Letters to the President: #992 'Keeping the job problem in sight'

Reporter's Note: The president has been trying to catch up with the runaway unemployment problems, but as I note in today’s letter, sometimes just keeping the challenge in sight can be enough for the moment.

Dear Mr. President,

By the time you read this, I expect to be deep, deep, deep into a very long trail run. I’m hoping to hit the woods around 6 in the morning, knock out between 15 and 20 miles, and then join up with my wife and younger daughter for brunch somewhere. Should be fun, but you never know with these morning runs; sometimes they are wonderful, and sometimes they are torturous. We’ll see.

I did not mention the jobs report yesterday because I was busy thinking about other things when I wrote, but of course the report brought lukewarm news…some jobs added, sure, but not nearly enough to make a real dent in the unemployment numbers.

And yet, I wonder if this might yet be good news for us. Why?

Look at it this way: When you run a long race, sometimes a front runner breaks from the pack. He sprints away early, eating up miles, and convincing other competitors that he’ll never be caught. Truth be told, if someone tries to run him down when he is streaking ahead like that, the challenger runs a real risk of burning out and failing.

But such ferocity requires a lot of energy, and the rabbit can also find himself flaming as he tries to maintain that pace.

And I wonder if that is finally happening with our economy; if that vicious cycle that has taken us so deeply into bad times, is just naturally losing steam.

I realize this may be cold comfort to people who don’t have jobs. But I have such faith in the power of such cycles…in running, in nature, and yes, in the economy…that when I see hints of such a thing, it always grabs my attention. Hey, we may not be catching up yet, but such reports suggest maybe we are ready to stop falling further behind.

Hope your Saturday is nice. I’m likely going to take another long trot tomorrow. If you want to go, just give me a call.


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Filed under: Letters to the President • Opinion • President Barack Obama • T1 • Tom Foreman • Unemployment
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