With the Friday jobs report, you want to think about the nexus of jobs and policy in the longer term, which in this case asks, "what did the administration do to offset the massive contraction in labor demand, aka the Great Recession?" The answers to that are the Recovery Act, financial and auto rescues, unemployment insurance extensions, payroll tax cuts, and more. Those measures demonstrably pulled the recovery, tepid as it is, forward, saved and created millions of jobs, and hastened the turnaround in net jobs growth. You might also want to note that Republicans have generally tried to block all of the above, and since 2010, have successfully blocked efforts like the American Jobs Act to do more to help offset the residual drag from the downturn. In that regard, their fingerprints are the most prominent ones on the current slog.
On this week's NBC special about the killing of Osama bin Laden, Brian Williams repeatedly held up the famous photo of administration members watching the raid and asked those in the photo, "What does it conjure up inside of you?" This week also brought the latest job numbers, which revealed the lowest percentage of adults working or looking for work in 30 years. Maybe Williams should tape a follow-up special where he holds up a copy of the jobs report and asks administration members, "What does it conjure up inside of you?" Contrasting the White House's relentless focus on the bin Laden operation with its lack of relentless focus on the economy is enough to make one want to scream. Hmm, maybe Edvard Munch could paint it and we could raise $120 million to help the unemployed.