Speaking July 8 in the White House Rose Garden — after unemployment hit a six-month high of 9.2% — Obama said, “The problems in Greece and in Europe along with uncertainty over whether the debt limit here in the United States will be raised have also made businesses hesitant to invest more aggressively.”
“The sooner we get this done,” Obama said regarding the prospects of Congress raising the debt ceiling, “the sooner we give business the certainty they need to grow and hire.”
In an update, the Los Angeles Times‘s Christi Parsons and Don Lee write:
- Most private economists don’t think uncertainty over the debt limit had much effect on job creation in June, although that surely didn’t help confidence. Rather, experts and business owners attributed the weak hiring largely to weak sales and concerns that consumers aren’t seeing the kinds of job and income gains to support a strong pickup in spending.
Truth be told, Obama has been chatting up economic uncertainty since at least September 2008, in an anti-John McCain campaign speech on the eve of the Wall Street bailout:
- We meet here at a time of great uncertainty for America. The era of greed and irresponsibility on Wall Street and in Washington has led us to a financial crisis as serious as any we have faced since the Great Depression. They said they wanted to let the market run free but they let it run wild, and they trampled our American values of fairness, balance, and responsibility to one another. Now, because of speculators who gamed the system and regulators who looked the other way, your jobs, your life savings, and the stability of our entire economy are at risk.
We have been left with no good options. And today, Democrats and Republicans in Washington have agreed on an emergency rescue plan that is our best and only way to prevent an economic catastrophe.
Not to mention his cringe-worthy comment that followed:
- This [Bush] Administration started off by asking for a blank check to solve this problem. I said absolutely not. I said it was unacceptable to expect the American people to hand this Administration or any Administration a $700 billion check with no conditions and no oversight when a lack of oversight in Washington and on Wall Street is exactly what got us into this mess. If the American people are being asked to help solve this crisis, then you have a right to make sure that your tax dollars are protected.
What followed, you ask? A $700 billion plus blank check with no conditions and no oversight that got us into this mess on Obama’s watch — plus 9.2% unemployment (not to mention all those who have fallen off the rolls or are underemployed or were self-employed and no longer are — or the high school and/or college grads/dropouts who never were employed).
Speaking of employment uncertainty, Gary Burtless of the Brookings Institution writes:
- Neither indicator shows a pace of job creation that is fast enough to reduce the nation’s unemployment rate very quickly. If the jobless rate were 5%, this news would be tolerable. But when unemployment exceeds 9%, it should be unacceptable. Even taking a rosy view of employment gains over the past 6 or 12 months, it will be many years before the nation eliminates the current shortfall in jobs. To bring the adult employment rate back to its pre-recession level, we would need to add about 11 million new jobs. At the pace of job growth we have seen since the start of the year, that task may take decades.
Mr. President, the uncertainty stretches way back and, unfortunately, far into the future. Raising or lowering the debt ceiling is not the answer to what ails America today.