Good news has been hard to find for President Barack Obama. The international situation is a little frighting with a terrorist army in Iraq chopping off heads and Russia gobbling up parts of Ukraine. Ebola is no longer a distant problem in Africa, it’s in Texas. So it’s no wonder that he’s turned to talking up the economy. The problem is that millions of Americans see more talk than actual improvement in their lives.
Obama had, as he put it, “a lot of good statistics” to cite in his speech to a friendly crowd at Northwestern University the other day: 10 million new jobs created in 4 1/2 years, higher home prices, a doubling of the stock market, a surge in energy development that has made America No. 1 in oil and gas production. Friday brought word that the unemployment rate has dropped to a six-year low of 5.9 percent.
Yet, his statistics don’t tell the whole story. The new jobs he touts are more likely to be lower-pay work in service and retail businesses. More than 7 million Americans are stuck in part-time jobs because they can’t get full-time work. African Americans, Hispanics and younger Americans suffer higher jobless rates. Wages are flat, keeping median household income 8 percent below 2007, while food and energy costs have risen.
His boasting about the stock market means the 1 percent Obama usually derides as the undeserving rich are doing spectacularly well in the Obama economy. Everyone else, not so well.
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