David A. Love's Blog

David A. Love

David A. Love
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
June 18
David A. Love is the Executive Editor of BlackCommentator.com, where his Color of Law column appears weekly. He is a contributor to the Huffington Post, the Progressive Media Project, McClatchy-Tribune News Service, theGrio, News One, In These Times and Philadelphia Independent Media Center. He contributed to the book, States of Confinement: Policing, Detention and Prisons (St. Martin's Press, 2000). Love is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He also completed the Joint Programme in International Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford.

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 10, 2011 6:13PM

This Jobs Crisis Is Obama's Kryptonite

Rate: 9 Flag
Many commentators and observers, including this writer, argued for a far more aggressive and comprehensive strategy from the White House for getting America out of its economic morass.  Obama's team chose a half-hearted, half-assed stimulus package, and the result is what we see today. Don't get me wrong, the stimulus helped. But it is running out, and you can see the effects that the empty well is having on state and local governments as they proceed to cut education and essential social services and programs.

Unemployment is high, twice as high for blacks, and the jobs aren't coming.  80 percent of recent college graduates are moving back home. And there is talk of a double-dip recession on the way, as housing prices are falling, with a faltering real estate market threatening to pull us back down in the hole. The President's abysmal failure of a foreclosure relief plan is blamed, in part, for the economic woes.  

A new Washington Post-ABC poll reveals that President Obama has lost his post-Bin Laden bump in popularity. And more importantly, by a 2-to-1 margin, Americans believe the country is seriously on the wrong track. Nine in 10 rate the economy negatively, and six in 10 say the economy is not on the road to recovery. About six in 10 give Obama negative marks on the economy and the deficit. This comes on the heels of the departure of Austan Goolsbee -- one of Obama's progressive-leaning economic advisors -- who was frustrated that the President abandoned more stimulus investment to spur the economy, opting instead to pursue the folly of attacking deficits.     

Polls at this early stage in the game don't mean a whole lot, but it is worth noting that Obama leads 5 of 6 Republican contenders, and is in a dead heat with Mitt Romney. I believe that Obama could handily beat any empty suit the GOP throws his way. Given the proclivities of the Republican primary electorate, I'll bet that Romney's status as frontrunner will be short lived. I will bet on Sarah Palin or someone of her ilk.  Howard Dean said himself that Sarah Palin could defeat Obama in the general election, particularly with unemployment as it is.

Now, do I really think that Palin is presidential material? Not for a moment. Her latest gaffe -- actually a botchery of the historical account of Paul Revere's ride, in which she claimed Revere warned the British -- shows how ignorant and flighty the woman truly is. That is precisely why she could win. I don't trust the American electorate, especially when times are tough.  Too many Americans drink the stupid juice when the economy is in the tank, and pull the lever against their own economic interests.  Or, demoralized and disenchanted, they just stay home and don't vote at all.  The results of the 2010 midterm elections provide all the evidence you need of that proposition.  Voters cast their ballots for some of the most regressive governors, state legislators and members of Congress one can imagine.  

The country is hurting, but instead we get voter ID legislation, decimation of labor rights, criminalization of abortion, Vouchercare, and laws banning sagging pants.  We knew they would do something like this, even though they didn't explicitly say they would.  The Republican track record on overreach speaks for itself.  And the lackluster Democrats did their best to bring a GOP victory last year, eager as they are to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Although Palin and the other Republican hopefuls hardly seem viable candidates at first glance, consider Ronald Reagan. People laughed at the prospect of an actor becoming president. His opponent, the incumbent, was smart and capable, and didn't drag the country into war. But Jimmy Carter was done in by stagflation and the Iran hostage crisis, not to mention an intra-party challenge from Ted Kennedy, and two opponents in the general election.

If the economy continues to suffer enough, as it appears it will, Obama should take heed.  Americans will elect the factually challenged, knowledge deficient and intellectually starved if given half a chance, which is why Obama needs to get serious about jobs, jobs, jobs.  Regardless of how much he can accomplish on that front between now and Election Day 2012, he needs to get started yesterday. And it is time for him to ignore the Republicans. They have two goals in mind: First, to wreck the economy for 2012, and second, to establish a nation fully owned and operated by religious fanatics, the greedy and the unstable. They are making good on both of these promises.

That's the short term situation. Obama must find some jobs or he'll be out of one. Now, here's the long term problem, which leads us back to the short term: America is a feudal capitalist state with the highest inequality in the industrialized world. The inequality has widened over three decades, and is now at chronic proportions -- the highest since the Great Depression. The elites have decided to ride this one out, not through economic growth, because all they have to do, they've decided, is to squeeze as much as they can from the rest of us sharecroppers. And they're doing a superb job of it. Favorable tax policies and deregulation ensure that they get more and more, and the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision allowed them to buy the political system outright. So, a bribery-based political system -- concerned only with the next election cycle -- serves the interests of a crony capitalist system that cares only about the next quarterly profit statement.  

Say what you will about China, but at least they never pretended to operate under any pretense of democracy. However, China does look one hundred years into the future, when America can barely look past the latest episode of Celebrity Apprentice. And as China silently colonizes Africa and wrests the leadership in renewable energy, the U.S. has no industrial policy other than military contractors. We can't even build a national high-speed rail system because the superstitious among us brand it as socialist big government welfare spending. 

These are the problems that President Obama must face, because hell, world leaders are paid to do that. He can solve this whole thing tomorrow is he just calls for a new New Deal program already. But will he have the courage? Time will tell, but the President, like this sad nation, is short on time.

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brilliant. you said it all
what makes you think congress wants to get out of recession? it's a guarantee of more republicans in house and senate.
As Kathy comments, this blog is brilliant, however, I think in Your comments concerning Carter, we should not forget that team "actor in chief" bribed the Iranians to hold the hostages until after reagan was elected.

This was treason of the highest order.

It is possible - not likely, but feasible - that people might finally see the economy as a bipartisan problem. It started under Bush and has roots going back to Reagan. As for offering attractive alternative solutions (realistic or not), Republicans are contractually obligated to offer only further cutbacks. We've seen that movie already, and it may not play anymore.
You wrote that you "don't trust the American electorate." Your words. So, would you apply a poll tax, a civics quiz, in order that only the informed and educated vote? And who would draw up the questions for such an examination? The intellectual elite, who know all? I don't trust the electorate either, the "mobocracy" as John Adams called it, the 'boobocracy' as Mencken called it. It is what it is, and it's damn sure better than your selective--read fascist--way of making sure that only thems in the know get to vote. Give me stupid (which I'll vote against of course) but don't give me elitist.
The president is the not the problem, dink-wad. It's a Republican-owned-and operated-House which has done NOTHING to get employment moving forward. In fact, the GOP has done all it can to obstruct job production since 2009.

After becoming Speaker of the House, John Boehner famously said " We're going to have a relentless focus on creating jobs". Can you name one program they've implemented since then? No, you cannot.

The only hope for the Republicans in 2012 is to stand idly by while the economy continues to melts down as a result of eight disastrous Republican years.

The answer is easy: Vote out EVERY Republican possible in 2012 and install a Democratic government that can make things happen.
I'm with farlefty...clearly it's the Repub's fault. I mean, we had completely control of the house with Pelosi, and then we had a filibuster proof senate and the executive, but yet we will instead cling to the idea of it being the party of No's fault for keeping anything from getting done. Later on, when we lose the filibuster proof status, now it's even more their fault because we can't come up with plan to entice even 1 vote from the other side...yes, clearly that's the Republican's fault.
You're mistaken about Sarah Palin and Paul Revere. Most historians interviewed think that her interpretation was a little flawed, but her facts were straight.

To quote:
"Prof. ALLISON: Yeah. She was making a Second Amendment case. But in fact, the British were going out to Concord to seize colonists' arms, the weapons that the Massachusetts Provincial Congress was stockpiling there.

So, yeah, she is right in that. I mean, she may be pushing it too far to say this is a Second Amendment case. Of course, neither the Second Amendment nor the Constitution was in anyone's mind at the time. But the British objective was to get the arms that were stockpiled in Concord.

BLOCK: So you think basically, on the whole, Sarah Palin got her history right.

Prof. ALLISON: Well, yeah, she did. And remember, she is a politician. She's not an historian. And God help us when historians start acting like politicians, and I suppose when politicians start writing history. "

It is important to recognize that Obama was forced to compromise on the jobs matter because of the composition of the senate, just as he was with health care. the senate would not have gone for a Roosevelt style jobs program. I disagree strongly with this part of your assessment and feel that Obama has been between a rock and a hard place and has done all possible to move things forward. I support him 100%. I would not be so focused on the polls as you seem to be. This is the game that politocs and pundits play and this obsession retards progress, in my view.
great article on huffpost today from robert reich. he points out how it would be nice if the president, and the dems in congress, actually HAD a jobs plan to counter all the republican trickle down shit. here's the link:


As I see it, Barak Obama will almost certainly be a one-term president. Jobs, or more precisely, the lack of jobs, truly will be his downfall.

But the sad truth, which most people prefer not to acknowledge, is that there will never, ever again be enough “jobs” for everyone who needs and wants one—especially the “grunt jobs” that are most needed. Grunt jobs—moderate skill level jobs—are what use to keep America running. They were the jobs people had to support a family. They are gone—and will never return.

It simply makes no sense to pay American workers wages sufficient to support a family, to do grunt work. Corporate execs will send those kinds of jobs to third world countries for doing by coolies being paid coolie wages—at least until our technology evolves to the point where machines, robots, and computers make even those poorly paid bastards prohibitively expensive.

But make no mistake about it, jobs of the type most Americans need (moderate skill; reasonable pay) are gonna be scarce as hen’s teeth from now until the day the sun runs out of fuel. Obama will not create them—nor will he create an environment in which the private sector will create them. Same applies to all the other contenders for the office he now holds.

Like I said, my guess is that Americans will be shortsighted—as they so often are. They will use the excuse that Obama did not create enough jobs nor create the environment in which the private sector created enough jobs—and they will throw him out in favor of one of those empty suits (or dresses) the Republicans will be serving up.

The only redeeming factor, in my opinion, is that we do not deserve someone as decent, intelligent and pragmatic as Barak Obama.

We deserve what the other side will give us.

We deserve what we are going to get.
Stupid, you said nothing.
Obama WOULD be a one-term President if there was aviable Republican candidate.

There isn't.

They're all idiots and narcissists.

The media wants to stoke the notion of a "cliff-hanger" to produce ratings. Unless something totally out of the blue transpires this election is over and Obama wins a second term in a walk.
Not Obama's fault but there are no jobs because America no longer produces anything other than financial speculation. Factories closed thirty/forty years ago. You simply cannot get them up and running again! Even if we were to undergo such an ambitious project, it require 30 years meaning 30 more years of un/under employment of our people.
again, it would be nice if the dems at least tried....hm??
OBAMA'S REELECTION does not depend on 9.1% unemployment or the ECONOMY but ON THE ANGER OF THE WORKING PEOPLE against #GOP governance. We are not back in 2010 when the rightwing media convinced the party of selfishness to voice anger about tax enough already BUT NOW THE GAME IS DIFFERENT now the working people the real we the people are angry against the Republican House and Senate for falsely lying to the American people about finding Jobs when all they care is to cut more spending that will anihilate the middle class and their protections without affecting the Wealthy and Corporations. About NOT RAISING TAXES FOR THE WEALTHY. Misleading the American people into thinking that unemployment is due to lack of confidence on the Market Place for Investors to invest when they are seating on piles of money. Lying to the American People about not raising taxes because it would hurt confidence on investing when unemployment is due to capitalist failures of corporations not needing Americans anymore. Capitalist failures of the Trickle Down economics and globalization since Reagan began these policies. Lying to the American People favoring Supply Side economimcs when the issue is lack of "DEMAND" for products and services causing corporations to not want to invest in jobs. Representing Donors instead of constituents. Against the Governors for their imposition of their corrupt values by force, anger about Eric Cantor with his obseesion of budgets over victims, anger about Boehner for promising Jobs without creating any, anger about Ryan wanting to let those below 55 not have Medicare as we know it. Anger about REPUBLICAN GOVERNORS IMPOSING #CHRISTIAN #CONSERVATIVE VALUES ON THE REST OF US....and destroying our rights to bargain and our freedoms...THIS IS THE REAL ANGER that will affect the REELECTABILITY OF THE PRESIDENT we the real working people will VOTE AGAINST ANY REPUBLICAN RUNNING FOR OFFICE INCLUDING THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES
Neither political party has any candidates that stand out to me. No tax cuts or economic stimulus packages are going to bring the unemployment numbers down. Trade policy is responsible for much of the jobs that have fled this country. And many politicians are resigned to the fact that these jobs are forever lost. If that's the case, we are in for big trouble in a few years.

I do agree with the assessments that the unemployment numbers will impact this election significantly. However, with no politicians offering any real solutions that will put people back to work whomever is elected may also be a one term wonder as well.

David, you brought up some great points about China and manufacturing. I only wish more people would recognize what has been happening for years!
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GREAT post. Thanks! Shared. Rated.