It was not surprising to hear the Republican presidential candidates repeat their tiresome claim that excessive government spending and borrowing were behind Friday’s terrible unemployment report. It was depressing to hear President Obama sound as if he agreed with them.
The Labor Department report showed virtually no job growth in June, with the unemployment level edging up to 9.2 percent from 9.1 percent the month before. It seemed to confirm last month’s indication that the economy had stalled. After the report came out, the president went to the Rose Garden andsaid he hoped that a conclusion to the current debt-ceiling talks would give businesses “certainty” that the government had its debt and deficit under control, allowing them to start hiring again.
Certainty? That sounds like Mitt Romney, or any of the other Republicans who have concocted a phony connection between hiring and government borrowing.
There has never been any evidence that the federal debt is primarily responsible for the persistent joblessness that began with the 2008 recession. The numbers have remained high because of weak consumer demand and stagnant wage growth, along with an imbalance between jobs and job skills. Republicans have long tried to link unemployment and debt so that they can blame Mr. Obama for the poor economy, and build support for their ideological goal of cutting spending.