Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Friday, January 6, 2012

Interesting Question

Indeed, you do.

So, we added 200,000 non seasonal jobs last month and the unemployment rate fell to 8.5%.  Most economic historians will tell you - if you can get them to put down the sandwich - that public statistics tend to be too optimistic as we enter a recession and too pessimistic as we leave one.  During the collapse of '08-09, the monthly figures were routinely revised downward, whereas the last few months have seen some revision upward.

The question is, what happens if the economy starts to really grow over the next ten months?  There are still some things that could derail the recovery, mostly those dumbasses in Europe who insist on doing everything wrong.  Gas prices could also throttle growth, but I think Saudi Arabia took their boot off our neck in return for letting them crack down on the Bahraini Spring.  We'll see what effect an Iranian oil embargo might have.

But I think it's safe to say Obama wins easily if the unemployment rate is below 8%.  People care more about the direction of the economy when evaluating the President.  There is ample evidence that people really do like him and admire him, but they are pissed that the economy sucks.  Romney has made "It's the economy stupid" his central attack line on Obama.

If we see some real turnaround in the employment picture, then Romney looks more foolish than usual.

UPDATE: Sometimes, I think Jon Chait and I share a brain:

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