Denial — it ain’t just a river in Egypt. Appearing on Fox News this morning, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz insisted that unemployment didn’t go up in Barack Obama’s term of office, a hilarious argument on several levels. Debbie Downer then lectures Gretchen Carlson that “your narrative doesn’t work any longer,” to which a bemused Carlson responds that she’s just relating the facts:
Here are a few facts that seem to have gotten past Wasserman Shultz as the head of a major political party, and as a member of Congress:
- Jobless rate in January 2009: 7.8%. Jobless rate in November 2011: 8.6%.
- Number of employed in January 2009, in thousands: 133,563. In November 2011: 131,708
- Civilian participation rate in January 2009: 65.7%. In November 2011: 64.0%
- Unemployment level in January 2009, in thousands: 11,984. In November 2011: 13,303
- Number of people not in labor force, January 2009, in thousands: 80,554. In November 2011: 86,558
The number of jobs has declined almost 2 million during Obama’s term even without accounting for the 3 million-plus working-age adults who joined the population while Obama has been President, while the number of people not in the labor force has risen by six million. To give some perspective to that number, it took this measure six years to add six million people (Feb 2003 to Jan 2009), while it took Obama less than three years to achieve it. It’s also worth noting that this growth in disconnected potential workers and the associated drop in the civilian-participation rate is almost entirely responsible for the published jobless rate being as low as it is, and the exodus of 315,000 workers from the workforce last month is certainly responsible for the drop that Debbie Downer heralds in this interview.
Maybe the DNC should consider having a chair who has some connection to reality. But what fun would that be for the rest of us?