Republicans will have a field day with today's jobs report, taking it as a sign that Obama's economic policies have failed and we need instead their brand of fiscal austerity combined with more tax cuts for the wealthy. But that's precisely the reverse of what's needed.
President Obama will claim the economy is improving -- and, technically, it is. Growth this year will most likely average around 2 percent. The problem is, most Americans aren't feeling it in their paychecks.
There's nothing hidden about the crisis of black joblessness. The problem is that the black unemployed, like the poor, have no powerful advocacy groups. It's painful, daunting and it's a huge barrier to the nation's full economic recovery.
Jobs are coming back fast enough to blunt Republican attacks against Barack Obama on the economy and to rob Mitt Romney of the issue he'd prefer to be talking about. But they're not coming back fast enough to significantly reduce the nation's jobs backlog.
We're not adding jobs at breakneck speed, for sure, and we're still repairing the damage done by the great recession to the living standards of millions. But this month's report makes another addition to a solid and improving trend.
Both in economics and politics, it is incumbent on Obama's team to plan for the worst just in case, and to craft a message that will work in the fall no matter the economic trend lines. There are a couple of major reasons this is especially important.
In our political sphere there are now conversations about penalizing U.S. companies who continue to take jobs overseas, and rewarding them for bringing jobs back. But no one really knows if either approach will be successful.