On the third day he’s elected…

Ok. I admit this is turning out to be more difficult than I originally expected.

What I did see yesterday was a few new “economic advisors.” A promise for yet another economic stimulus package. A promise for a new White House dog. Obama remains on the cover of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The headline on today’s printed front page reads: “Challenge of our lifetime” and makes me worry what will happen if the dear man ever has to face a real challenge while he’s in office. Further research shows he did also use the word “economic” prior to that statement, but the MJS failed to relay that detail.

Obama’s statement still confuses me. I was moving into the real world during the early 80’s when things went very south economically. I had a professor that kept warning the times would be labeled an economic depression. It never happened.

Here’s the historical unemployment data from 1975 to present. The peak of over 10% was in 1983. I’m pretty sure Mr. Obama was enjoying his “lifetime” then, too, since he’s about a year older than I am.

One final observation: the peak in 1983 is labeled Reagan’s responsibility by Democrats. The peak that will likely happen in Obama’s new term will undoubtedly be defined as President’ Bush’s by them.


  1. It’s pretty interesting to see how this trend waxes and wanes – like the weather. A few years ago when it was was a little hotter out the media screams global warming and you have a rush of politicians trying to “fix” the problem . Now we are looking at a natural cycle and people are trying to fix it. Perhaps if the media dropped the ‘were all going to die’ fear mongering we’d be a lot better off.

  2. Tinkerbell says:

    Hmm, is the recent job growth a temporary spike due to the campaign? Or is it comprised of Obama’s secrect service people?

    Is there any data to say whether the growth is in low-paying service sector jobs like fast food, daycare, or retail? And whether we’ve seen a shift from higher paying “careers” like research-scientific, engineering, professional-technical, manufacturing, and middle-management to these lower paying service-sector jobs?

    I understand we now have an economy based primarily on consumerism, therefore a drop in spending will result in a decrease of service-sector jobs.

    There is hope. College courses once taught (and maybe still do) about various theories of management:
    1) “X”-employees are inheritly lazy.
    2) “Y”-employees strive to contribute and obtain satisfaction from theri efforts.
    3) Japanese-employees at every level are encouraged to help drive the company, providing input at any level (even those above their pay grade).

    While this is anecdotal (unless I research and present findings to you), is it any wonder that the Japanese Toyota motor car company has piloted many innovations in safety, fuel economy, etc and is growing while our American car companies are not?

    People, it’s time to believe in ourselves. If the janitor noticed something about a car on the assembly line, would s/he be encouraged to speak up and make a suggestion? Until we are that kind of country, unfortunately we may sit around licking our wounds, pointing figures, and feeling the financial pich of our own foregone opportunities.

    Each of us can help to take baby steps toward becoming a culture that seeks to innovate, making suggestions, and taking them well, incorporating them as we go.

  3. Randy in Richmond says:

    The campaign is all about talking to and pumping up the choir, on all sides. Now Obama must turn around and face the congregation, the other half that didn’t vote for him and didn’t vote at all. Already his deacons, the MSM, are protecting him in his missteps, albeit small.

    Obama actually referred to seances in his news conference off the cuff joke, something Nancy Reagan never took part in. In this WaPo article to show how quickly Obama apologized, the actual quote is given, but the writer says Obama referred to Nancy Reagan’s “reported consultations with an astrologer” and ‘that’ story is linked. Obama said no such thing and the quote is right there in the article. The writer twisted the quote to meet his agenda so he could link the Reagan story and shift from Obama’s mistake. The spin continues.


  4. J. Strupp says:

    Tinkerbell. That’s an UNemployement chart. There hasn’t been any “recent job growth”.

    “…is it any wonder that the Japanese Toyota motor car company has piloted many innovations in safety, fuel economy, etc and is growing while our American car companies are not?”

    “American” automakers manufacture quality vehicles. American automakers utilize some of the most cutting edge technology in the industry. Legacy costs are the problem. Period.

    Most of the car assembly lines you speak of are located in the U.S. Many “foreign” automakers manufacture domestically with American workers.

  5. Don’t forget, Cindy, that the present President Bush and Co. blamed much of the economic struggles in 2001-2003 on Clinton.

    Also, unemployment alone is not enough to judge the severity of an economic crisis. It may have been higher in 1983, but what other factors do we have now that might make it worse? I suggest the staggering national debt, the staggering budget deficit, the tight credit markets and potential collapse of the banking industry, massive consumer debt, and the worst consumer confidence levels ever recorded could make this worse than 1983.

    You can snark about a single statistic, but look at all of it, please.

  6. Tinkerbell says:

    Dear J-S,
    Thank you for stating the obvious. Recent stats from various sources show varied results, including “seasonal hiring” providing a slight upturn in low-paying jobs which do not quite offset the loss of real jobs, careers. Sorry if I was unclear in trying to bring that out.

    It is my understanding that unemployment stats may show only those individuals receiving unemployment; such stats would no longer count individuals once they found a job, even a lesser job… or once their unemployment benefits run out. Therefore the number of unemployed/underemployed may be much greater than the figures we see, which are essentially counts of those receiving unemployment compensation.

    If an American car is getting 24-mpg and a Toyota is getting 32-mpg, I value that difference. It does not make it particularly more attractive to me if the 24-mpg is manufactured here using cutting edge technology. Yes, I understand my Toyota was designed and par-built overseas, completed in these United States using both foreign and domestic sourced parts. The point is the style of management and the openness to constructive input from all levels. This style was first noted to exist in Japan, and was credited with facilitating the exponential growth of companies such as Toyota.

    While our local auto show reveals interesting new concept cars each year, I am unaware of new features pioneered and delivered by the American car industry to consumers in recent years. Please feel free to provide a list to share your knowledge base with me and other readers.

    Regarding “legacy costs”, it appears that companies may need to set aside a certain amount of their income to re-invest in their facilities. When corporate taxes are high, strapped budgets may lead to difficult decisions such as cutting staff, paying shareholders poorly (in which case this company’s stock may be sold in favor of investing elsewhere, thereby tightening the corporate budget even more… a vicious cycle), or reinvestment in physical plant may be deferred. Deferred maintenance may lead to problems of higher overhead, as compared with newer factory facilities.

    We need to understand there is value to supporting our corporations so they may provide jobs and also shareholder earnings. (Traditional Republican view.)

    What we might agree is NOT needed is the disproportional salaries of the few at the top of some companies, for example recent Lehman news.

  7. Unemployment was a response to a comment by Zach in an earlier post, Folkbum. You’ll have to save “snark” for him as he said: I suppose the dip in the markets had nothing to do with the fact that jobless claims jumped to a 25 year high and the fact that a number of companies announced lower than expected earnings.

    You could read every day and then it would all make sense 🙂

  8. Randy in Richmond says:

    If it’s your job that’s cut, it’s always horrific. So anyone not working feels like the economy is awful. But we’re not close to the early 1980’s. Not only was gasoline equivalent to about $5.oo/gal in today’s dollars, there was a shortage. It was rationed by the last digit of your license plate–odd and even days.It was illegal to top off your tank and many stations had a 10 gallon limit. A good rate on your new home was 12 %. Credit card rates were 24-30 %. Inflation was 18%. The average person could care less about the GNP or national debt or budget deficits during times like that. Electric bills tripled and the equal monthly payment plan was born for utilities. Pintos by Ford cost more than LTD’s or Impalas. If you traded in an 8 cylinder car on a 4 cylinder car you got 50% of blue book value. Public buildings were not air conditioned and some kept at 60 degrees in the winter. Wood stoves became so popular that air pollution, especially at night, regressed to 1940’s levels. Selling wood became a booming business as the price of a cord tripled.
    I didn’t have to look any of this up as I lived it. We’re no where close to this yet as today seems to be more macro than micro.
    And President Carter, wearing his sweaters in the White House and bogged down with the Iranian hostages, was not hated but pitied and ridiculed.

  9. Guess I misinterpreted the statement, “Hmm, is the recent job growth a temporary spike due to the campaign? Or is it comprised of Obama’s secret service people?”, right after Cindy’s graph showing the recent increase in monthly unemployment rates.

    “Regarding “legacy costs”, it appears that companies may need to set aside a certain amount of their income to re-invest in their facilities. ”

    This sentence puzzles me.

    Lastly, I think we are all fully aware of the impact of higher corporate income taxes as it relates to employement and capital expenditures.

  10. Randy in Richmond says:

    Well, we are learning about the skills of Barack Obama , the negotiator. Most places, when someone invites you to their home to talk and each says ahead of time it will be confidential, it’s left that way. Prior to the President and President-Elect meeting yesterday at the White House, each camp said the talks would be private and the two would meet alone. They did meet alone. But one side, for purely political reasons, did not keep it’s word. This makes one wonder about all those things said in the past months and how much one’s word will be kept. Whereas many Obama supporters voted on hope, like hoping a leopard can change it’s spots, time will prove this not to be the case.

  11. We might as well rename these next four years Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

  12. Randy in Richmond says:

    It’s only been a week and Obama has appointed, for political reasons, the governor of the state in the worst economic woes in the country to an Economic Advisory Council, broke his word, for political reasons, to the sitting President of the USA, and had a top aide announce him ready to ‘rule’ and ‘take power’. Ah, the ride begins.

  13. Tinkerbell says:

    Possibly Obama will show enough of his hand that those electors not bound to vote as their state did in the general election, will cast ballots for McCain? The electoral college may save us!

    Pray, people, pray!

    And be willing to forgive any things Rhambo may reveal about the electors, intended to frighten them to vote as he desires. If elctors should find themselves between a proverbial rock and a hard place, needing to choose whether to cast their futures into our hands, or into Rhambo’s, please let them assess the conservative American public as a relatively soft place to land.

  14. Randy in Richmond says:

    I like your optimism Tinkerbell, but those Electors will not change their votes. Obama supporters are on an emotional high that will peak at the coronation in January. There is not enough truth or logic in the world to change anyone’s mind — yet.

  15. Tinkerbell says:

    … yet! That is the operative word.

    I would hope the insiders would come to a point of enlightenment sooner than the masses. Then it is a matter of being brave. They may feel thay have a lot to lose if they take a stand. But we may all have a lot to lose if they do not. In in terms of liberty, personal freedom, 1st amendment rights.

    As JFK once said: “… we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of LIBERTY.”