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Rhetoric or reality

Whose reality?
Whose reality?
Diane Thomas

The annual observance of Labor Day serves as a catalyst to focus our attention as a nation on the reality of the anemic employment epidemic in America. As we refocus on the current worldwide economic and employment challenges, it’s interesting to note that perspective is reality for everyone in the world, and political partisanship plays a part in shaping and influencing perspective. As we examine the current employment trends, we will attempt to diagnose them from a politically non-partisan or bipartisan perspective. For all of the political articles that I write for The Examiner or any other publication, I will use the ‘Thomas Rules of Political Assessment’:

1. All assessment is based upon empirical evidence, NOT upon theory, philosophy, political or personal bias, or subjective perceptions.

2. All assessment is based upon reality supported by proven facts, not rhetoric or political spin. I call this, ‘Bottom-line thinking’.

3. All assessment is based upon the understanding of deeper, below the water level causes, and holistic, long term solutions.

4. All assessment will be exercised without judging the hearts and motives of those who are involved in leading our nation and working to solve our country’s problems.

5. All assessment and comments will be shared with kindness and respect for others, with the understanding that we are all connected with each other in community, and with the desire to work together to make our country and our world a better place to call home for everyone.

We begin by reviewing a few quotes from the Labor Day speech of the honorable Secretary of Labor, Hilda L. Solis, and comparing it with non-partisan reality. Her quotes will be in italics, and our analysis will follow.

“It’s become somewhat of a tradition for labor secretaries to use Labor Day to speak on the status of the American worker — to give a “State of the American Worker” report, if you will…

But more than anything else, no matter where I go and who I talk to, you’ve told me “we need jobs.” And after 18 months, I have never been more confident that we are headed in the right direction, or more certain that our country must put creating jobs ahead of partisan roadblocks and petty political games.

I am not an economist. I believe that numbers only tell you part of the story and I know that the only true replacement for a job lost, is a new job that pays good wages. I’m committed to making that a reality for anyone who wants a job… When President Obama came into office, he inherited an economy that was losing as many as 750,000 jobs each month. We had to act immediately to stop our economy from going into another Great Depression and reverse the dangerous trend of job loss… Now, instead of losing jobs, we have actually added them in the private sector every month. We have averaged about 90,000 jobs for the last seven months.

Based upon the Thomas Rules of Political Assessment, I will assume that Secretary Solis is basing her comments upon her passionate and positive dreams for the American people, but ‘her reality’ seems to be distorted by partisan perspective. Now, let’s try to look beyond rhetoric to reality. When President Bush began his first term in office in 2001, the unemployment rate in the USA was 4.2%. When he completed his eight years in office, and President Obama began his term, the unemployment rate was 7.6 %. Twenty months after assuming the presidency, the unemployment rate in the USA is 9.6 % and there are 3.3 million fewer jobs than there were in January 2009. I agree with Secretary Solis. She has many great qualities, but she is definitely not an economist or mathematician.

In early August of last year, the president declared that, thanks in part to his policies, the U.S. economy was “pointed in the right direction.” Unfortunately, we have lost jobs in eight of the last twelve months since then. The 9.4% unemployment rate that existed when he made this statement climbed to 10.1% and then declined to 9.6% by the end of August, 2010, which is higher than it was a year ago.

I am not pointing the blame on ether President Bush or President Obama. The purpose of this article is not to assess blame, but to state the obvious that few acknowledge. Our unemployment rate has increased from 4.2 – 9.6% in the past nine years and eight months, under both Republican and Democratic leadership. This reveals that our employment epidemic is not acute, but chronic, and not just a political party problem. When an illness is chronic, we need to focus on gaining an accurate diagnosis and discovering the real long term cure. We will attempt to do this throughout the next few weeks, right here at The Cultural Trends Examiner.


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