Saturday, May 5, 2012

Short times

Henri IV exercising the Royal Touch to cure scrofula. Engraving by André Du Laurens ca. 1609. Wikipedia.
The Times teaser for its editorial this morning seems like a true Shorter*:
After the unmistakably weak employment report for April, it’s obvious that the economy will not heal itself without more government help.
Gosh,  Sparky, ya think? And that oh so subtle line between "obvious to everybody not representing a major journalistic enterprise or the Republican Party" and obvious tout court, what does it specially have to do with this April's report as opposed to, oh, say, the report for April 2009?

Nevertheless the editorial itself is not so ingenuous, and not disingenuous at all; it may start off all "nor is it clear where more growth will come from," but it's very clear about the source of the dissipating unclarity:
Election-year politics are bound to further confuse the economic picture and the way forward. On Friday, Mitt Romney blamed President Obama for the April jobs figures, saying that in a normal recovery “we should be seeing numbers in the 500,000 jobs created per month."
The truth is that the economy has not seen job growth like that in nearly 30 years. More to the point, the policies Mr. Romney espouses — notably deregulation and tax cuts for the rich — were the favored policies under President George W. Bush, years when job growth and wage gains were, at best, anemic.
The reason it's this April is that it's the April of the presidential campaign, and the reason it's newly obvious is that the policy debate for the campaign is taking on its definitive form, with its Democratic picture of job growth as something that can be done by anybody who can put some money together with a job description and a hire, and your Republican picture of "job creation" as some kind of quasi-ethnic property, like the ability to cure scrofula, remaining there even if it is unused, so that Willard Mitt Romney was still a job creator when his main job was slashing thousands upon thousands of actual jobs and in all the years he has been a simple rentier (with a hobby of political campaigning rather than RV travel and the like).

And even though what would really be nice is if it inspired somebody to say, "Hey, let's ship some money out to those state capitals," just taking that position is a help.

*We are selectively aware of certain Internet traditions.

No comments:

Post a Comment