The only mystery over the release of unemployment statistics was not whether it was going to be bad — everyone can sense the stasis in their own community first-hand — but whom would Barack Obama blame: Bush? The Republican Congress? The E.U. meltdown? The recent hot weather or summer in general? ATM machines? Hurricanes on the horizon?
After sharp recessions, we usually get more robust than average recoveries, but since June 2009, things have not recovered at all really, and we are in a sort of permanent European-style slowdown — sort of a recession, sort of a weak recovery.
If one wanted to ensure permanent 8 percent to 9 percent unemployment, one might try the following:
1. Run up serial $1 trillion deficits
2. Add $5 trillion to the national debt in three and a half years
3. Impose a 2,400-page, trillion-dollar new federal takeover of health care, with layers of new taxation, much of it falling on the middle class and employers, even as favored concerns are given mass exemptions.
4. Scare employers with constant us/them class warfare rhetoric about a demonized one-percenter class and its undeserved profits; constantly talk about raising new taxes and imposing regulations, ensuring uncertainty and convincing employers of unpredictability in regulation and taxes. You cannot convince a country to go into permanent near-recession, but President Obama is doing his best to try.
5. Appoint a bipartisan committee to study the fiscal crisis and then neglect all its recommendations.