Despite virtually all economists and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve finding Friday's unemployment report disappointing, MSNBC's Ed Schultz parroted President Obama's take that the numbers released by the Labor Department were good news.
The "Ed Show" host crowed so gleefully about the much-maligned data that he even said it was evidence the 2009 stimulus package worked (video follows with transcript and commentary):
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Listen very closely: Republicans, the Obama economy has created jobs for twelve straight months. Mr. Boehner, if you want to know where the jobs are, wipe the tears out of your eyes and take a look. The economy added 103,000 jobs in December, the unemployment rate dropped from 9,8 to 9.4 percent, and an upbeat and confident President Obama talked about the new job numbers at a window manufacturing company in Landover, Maryland, today.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The economy added more than 100,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate fell sharply. And we know that these numbers can bounce around from month to month, but the trend is clear. We saw twelve straight months of private sector job growth. That's the first time that's been true since 2006. The economy added 1.3 million jobs last year, and each quarter was stronger than the previous quarter, which means that the pace of hiring is beginning to pick up.
SCHULTZ: Well, the President is finally showing some swagger for the work he's done to turn the job numbers around after the Bush nightmare. The President thinks America’s economic future looks even brighter in 2011 partly due to the tax cut deal he brokered last month.
OBAMA: We're also seeing more optimistic economic forecasts for the year ahead, in part, due to the package of tax cuts I signed last month including a payroll tax cut for workers and a series of tax cuts to encourage investment and innovation and hiring. And I fought for that package because even though our economy is recovering, we've still got a lot to do.
SCHULTZ: A lot to do, but the President is spot on. Now, a survey of 28 economists in the USA Today predicts employers will add 183,000 jobs a month through 2011. Moody's is predicting 2011 hiring should lower the jobless rate to 8.9 percent or so by the end of the year. This is positive news. Is there anything wrong with positive news? But you see, the Republicans, they still refuse to give President Obama an ounce of credit. Boehner and his buddy Eric Cantor can't admit that the President's policies are working. Instead, they have their own plan. Today, House Republicans introduced what they call, what they call, the repealing of the job-killing healthcare law act. Cantor put it like this: "We will repeal ObamaCare” – I hate it when they say that, but of course that's their bullet points. They’re going to repeal ObamaCare. “With the repeal of the job-killing legislation, businesses will be able to breathe a sigh of relief…The Republican majority is committed to a cut and grow agenda.” Oxymoron there, huh? What is a cut and grow agenda? The Republicans are the masters at cutting help for the middle class and growing the bank accounts for the top two percent, the super rich in this country. Cantor and the Tan Man are hell-bent on taking this country back to the Bush economic years and the disaster that put us right in the mess that we're in right now.
Nancy Pelosi put it like this: "Today's jobs report provides evidence that the policies of the Democratic-led Cngress are helping create jobs and revitalize our economy, adding more jobs in 2010 than President Bush did in eight years." Is that true? It is. President Obama and the Democrats need to keep talking up the record on job creation before the Republicans starting to realize that hey be we better take credit for this. Well John Boehner and Eric Cantor think that they run the country right now, but they still haven't brought anything to the table to create jobs. Face it, folks, the stimulus package worked. The healthcare bill hasn't killed one job in this country, and the Republicans, they are still Republicans.
But here's what bothers -- I -- at least me, as an American, why I name-called them the other night. Why can't we get, since this is a new Congress and want to change everything and we want to make sure that America moves forward, can't on the economy when there's positive news out there, when there are numbers out there, can't for just a moment as a country, we just come together and say, you know what, this is going in the right direction and twelve months in a row it was good news. It's not the way that we would do it, this is the Republicans talking. It's not the way that we would do it, but this is going in the right direction. No, they can't do that. They're not honest brokers. Even when you put the numbers in front of them they're not honest brokers. And it's unfortunate that taxpayers have to put up with this kind of bickering that goes on, even when the numbers are there.
You know, there's an old jock strap saying from the locker room that goes this way: “It's amazing what we can accomplish as a team when we're not concerned with who gets the credit.” I think those days in Washington are long gone, because it's all about political credit. It's all about one-upmanship. It's all about us versus them. In the radio business, they say, well, gosh, talk radio today, all of the conservatives over here, all of the liberals are over here. Well what the hell, it's just a reflection of what the country is right now and it's just a reflection of what Washington is all about, because they're all about credit. Even when you put good numbers in front of them the Republicans are in denial.
Talk about denial, what kind of a Democrat shill do you have to be to positively spin data virtually all economists viewed as tremendously disappointing?
Even the New York Times was discouraged in its article on the subject sourly titled "Slow Jobs Growth Dims Expectation of Early Revival":
The year 2010 ended on a disappointing note, as the economy added just 103,000 jobs in December, suggesting that economic deliverance will not arrive with a great pop in employment.
Signs still point to a long slog of a recovery, with the unemployment rate likely to remain above 8 percent — it sits at 9.4 percent after Friday’s report — at least through the rest of the president’s four-year term. [...]
The unemployment rate, which is based on a separate survey of households, fell from 9.8 percent in November, though a substantial part of that drop is caused by Americans leaving the work force.
Long-term unemployment, however, remains a malady without an easy cure. The percentage of the unemployed who have been without work 27 weeks or longer edged up last month to 44.3 percent, virtually unchanged from a year ago. Other indicators, such as the length of the workweek, remained stagnant.
Indeed. Much of the decline in the unemployment rate in December was caused by people leaving the workforce and therefore no longer considered unemployed.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 1.3 million Americans are now out of the labor force due to discouragement over finding work. That's the highest this number has been since the BLS began reporting such a statistic, and it represents a 42 percent increase from December 2009.
How anyone could find this positive news is striking.
So disappointing was this report that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said, “If we continue at this pace, we’re not going to see sustained declines in the unemployment rate...it could take four to five more years for the job market to normalize fully.”
But this is what Schultz considers good news.
No wonder the White House loves MSNBC.