AP on the Long-Term Unemployed, Part 2: Reporter Hananel Never IDs Failed Policy Choices Creating the Problem

As shown in Part 1, this afternoon's report on long-term unemployment at the Associated Press by Sam Hananel attempted to create the impression but provided no actual evidence for the notion that complaints by many who have been unemployed for an extended time period that many employers are reluctant to consider and sometimes even refuse to consider their employment inquiries and applications equals support for provisions in President Obama's American Jobs Act which would for all practical purposes make them another protected class.

The AP reporter also completely failed to tell readers why the problem has reached an unprecedented post-Depression level, namely that the economy, largely due to failed public policy choices, has thus far taken three times as long to recover from its recession than it did during any other post-recession period after World War II. The following single paragraph is as close as Hananel got:


The issue has gained more prominence as the unemployment level remains stuck over 9 percent and a record 4.5 million people - nearly one-third of the unemployed - have been out of work for a year or more.

Hananel never told readers why the struggles of the long-term unemployed are more serious than ever. It's because there has never been a "recovery" (assuming we actually get there, which is not yet a given) which has taken so long:

ComparingRecoveriesAt0811GDPchained4Q07to2Q11

The graphic on the left, obtained from Investor's Business Daily, shows that in every other post-recession or post-downturn recovery after World War II, the economy returned to where it was before the downturn began within one, two, or at most three quarters -- until this time, where IBD shows that we're at eight quarters and counting (i.e., we won't be at full recovery until at least Quarter 9, if then). The graphic at the right proves that as of June 30, we're not there yet.

In a March column ("Unemployed Need Not Apply -- Thanks to Obamanomics"; originally run under a different title at Pajamas Media) I quoted more extensively in Part 1, I noted who should get the blame for the unprecedented plight of the long-term unemployed:

Those who are in that position through no real fault of their own have every reason to be angry that they and millions of other Americans are in the same position. But they should not be mad at employers. They should be mad as hell at their government. It is their government ... which deliberately chose to create a high-unemployment economy.

To those who argue that the government didn't "deliberately" chose the current high-unemployment economy, I would contend that the administration, by consciously choosing massive "stimulus" instead of other options, employed a strategy last seen in the 1930s, which was also a high-unemployment economy. In the 1930s, the unemployment rate never dropped below 12%. In every other case since World War II, even the dreadful early 1980s, different strategies were employed which achieved far better results. The massive "stimulus" strategy may not have been "deliberate" in intent, but it was certainly a deliberate choice, and its pathetic outcome was eminently predictable.

Noting the failure of administration policies thus far is particularly important, because the American Jobs Act is, in essence, more of the same on the so-called "stimulus" side, with tax increases to boot. But then, drawing parallels between the two wouldn't particularly assist the credibility of the Act's promises or its chances of passage, would it, Sam Hananel?

Of all the reality-denying aspects of Obama administration press coverage, the usually implicit but occasionally explicit assertion that he and his people are just helpless bystanders in an economic calamiity is easily among the most annoying. Sam Hananel continued that trend, apparently as part of an attempt to drum up support for the president's legislation. How disgraceful -- and typical.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.