Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Time Running Out?

This Friday the Federal Government will report the unemployment numbers for July that may have the most significant impact on the fall election for the Democrats. Congress is about to go on summer recess for most of August and Labor Day is the official kickoff of the fall mid-term elections.
Through a quirk in the calendar we will have a report this Friday and then again on September 3 and the last one before the election will be Friday October 1.  So if the campaign officially starts on Labor Day we will only have one jobs report before the November election.
As the Congressmen and women and Senators who are up for re-election go home this month they will hear, I believe, two clear messages from the electorate. First, it’s about jobs. People want to work and extending unemployment benefits helps people survive, but jobs make families prosper. The second issue is Federal spending. It is out of control. By the time the mid term elections are over the Obama administration will have doubled the national debt that all of the past administrations created.  If you really stop and think about that statement it is very scary. 
All the debt accumulated in the first 232 years of this country was doubled in just 2 years. With all of that spending we still have unemployment at 9.6% and no real job creations. The administration is playing games with the jobs numbers by talking about the number of jobs saved. No economic model supports the concept of jobs saved. We now have a new number called private sector jobs. The forecast for Friday is for a decline of 70,000 non-farm jobs but an increase of 100,000 private sector jobs. If these numbers miss to the downside look for a sell off in the markets.
People just want the facts. They can look around their neighborhoods and see their neighbors who are out of work, the number of houses for sale and they know somebody who has lost not only their job but also their home.
People want to know what their elected officials are going to do to get people back to work and to  help people save their homes and have a secure life for their families. People do not want to be dependent on the government, but the longer we go with a jobless recovery the more people will become dependent on the government.  These are the issues that the Congressmen and women and Senators will be asked to address as they travel throughout their states  and campaign for reelection in August, September, and October.
I expect you will hear questions from voters like these on the campaign trail:
I want to work, but I can’t find a job. How are you going to make jobs available?
Business has trillions of dollars and they are not spending it to create jobs. What are you going to do to give business and incentive to spend and create jobs?
If we can’t pay our bills how can the government pay its bills with the deficit so high?
How can we afford the new health care program?
How will you make my social security secure?
I’m sure you can think of many other questions that you would like to ask your Congressperson or Senator if he or she is up for reelection. Why not put your thoughts down in an e-mail or a note and sent it to their campaign and see if they respond and if they do what do they say.
If the country was in the mood for change two years ago, then I think it may well be in for another change this November. The issues in the election I think are very basic, it’s about jobs and the economy. There are other issues, the environment, social security, spending, but these and all the rest pale in importance when compared with the other two.
For the first time since the recent presidential election we have all the congress and one third of the senate up for election and all the candidates will be out talking and listening to voters over the next three months.
What will be the outcome of the election? I think if we do not see any improvement in the unemployment numbers over the next three reports then in October the poling data may show a significant shift in the control of both houses of congress.  As we see news reports of the mood on the campaign trail then the angrier the voters are the greater the defeat for the Democrats. Will the Democrats lose control of the one or both of the houses of congress? I think it is more likely that we may well see similar election results that we saw in the Clinton midterm when the Republicans took control.
The American people gave the Democrats the White House and both houses of Congress in the last election because they felt they wanted change. I do not think the change they got was the change they wanted and I doubt the democrats will retain all that control on November 2.

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