The Political Disconnect From Economic Reality


WASHINGTON – The number of people filing new claims for jobless benefits jumped last week after three straight declines, another sign that the pace of layoffs has not slowed.

Initial claims for jobless benefits rose by 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 472,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was the highest level in a month and overshadowed a report that consumer prices remain essentially flat.

First-time jobless claims have hovered near 450,000 since the beginning of the year after falling steadily in the second half of 2009. That has raised concerns that hiring is lackluster and could slow the recovery. 

The disconnect from reality of the political class continues to grow even faster than the doubts about sustainability of this recovery.  Despite the weekly first time jobless claims rising “unexpectedly” again, the Obama Administration continues to tout the successes of their programs in restoring economic health and growth.  

Vice President Biden today will kick off “Recovery Summer,” a six-week-long push designed to highlight the jobs accompanying a surge in stimulus-funded projects to improve highways, parks, drinking water and other public works. Biden will present President Obama with a report laying out a spike in stimulus activity this summer, and how it will contribute to a steady climb to a total of 3.5 million Recovery Act jobs by the end of the year. 

What is really in play here is the opening up of the political war chest, also known as the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act or “stimulus” in the lead up to the 2010 elections.  Only about 1/3rd of the nearly $800 billion stimulus was spent in the first year.  Much of this money was held back until 2010 specifically to dump on Democratic Congressional districts that are in jeopardy in the upcoming election.  Every American unbeknownst to themselves has donated campaign funds to the DNC in the name of stimulus.

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