Democratic congressional efforts to steer the economy not working as advertised. The $787-billion stimulus passed back in early 2009 failed to curb unemployment as promised, and there are other risks of putting a blind trust in government to solve the nation's economic woes.
And to give credit where credit is due, CNN's Christine Romans is pointing these risks out. On the April 5 broadcast of "CNN Newsroom" hosted by Ali Velshi, Romans was asked about the politics of extending unemployment benefits, which were held up through the Easter recess by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. According to Romans, there is a tug-of-war going on in the Senate.
"The Senate Democrats say they are going to plug ahead and plow forward," Romans said. "The issue here is the same issue as last month basically. You have some Republicans - one in particular, Sen. Tom Coburn from Oklahoma - saying, ‘Look, we've got to be able to pay for this. Let's pay for it. Let's do it. It's the right thing to do to help people. Let's find a way to pay for it.' And you have Democrats who are saying, ‘No, this is emergency spending. This is an emergency. The jobless situation is an emergency. Let's just do it right now quickly without finding another way to pay for it.'"
Romans also explained that recently released data showing improvements in the jobless benefits claims numbers leave out some important details. It isn't counting certain individuals that could be looking for work that haven't been eligible for these benefits.
"It's increased and it's a record high," Romans said. "I mean on Friday, we had the jobs report and the economists said it's off the charts - 44 percent of people who are out of work have been out of work for six months or longer. These unemployment benefits can be extended up to 99 weeks, you know. I mean it just shows you how chronic and prolonged this is for so many people - 15 million people officially out of work. There are millions more who aren't counted in the workforce because they dropped out. And you know, something that I think is interesting, if you're a stay-at-home mom, if you left the workforce four or five years ago and said you wanted to come home after you know, ‘Junior' was finally in kindergarten, you've been looking for a job, too, you're not counted in the unemployment rate. You're not counted because you've been out of the workforce."
However, as Romans pointed out - extending jobless benefits isn't necessarily a cure-all for economic woes, as it doesn't accomplish a sustainable end goal, but instead creates a dependency by the unemployed.
"So the situation, and you don't get unemployment benefits, frankly - there are a lot of people out of work for a very long time," Romans continued. "I'm curious, though, Ali, to see what's going to happen with the political debate. If you have more jobs being created, does that take away some of the impetus for extending unemployment benefits? Some people say you're creating a jobless welfare state. I mean, 99 weeks - how long is this going to go on?"
And how long will the trend of reporters suddenly understanding the employment and the economy go on? Just two weeks ago, Time Magazine realized that private enterprise, not government, was the only reliable creator of well-paid, long-term jobs.