The new unemployment report highlights the fact that the economy remains lousy and John Boehner is going to be the next Speaker of the House of Representatives. Ironically, it also demonstrates the bankruptcy of Boehner’s way of thinking. The new conservative orthodoxy has been that somehow teachers, police officers, guys who repair street signs, bus drivers, librarians, etc. don’t have “real jobs” and that police departments, roads, trains, buses, libraries, etc. don’t contribute to economic growth. In those terms, the unemployment report was actually fine—the private sector added 71,000 jobs, which isn’t the greatest number in human history but it’s okay.
The losses came from the public sector. And they were foreseeable. And they were foreseen by the President of the United States and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Majority Leader of the United States Senate and the majority of House members and a majority of Senators. And the President of the United States and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Majority Leader of the United States Senate and the majority of House members and a majority of Senators voted for bills that would have prevented that. But because in the Senate a minority of members can get their way, action wasn’t taken. Consequently, we have a horrible jobs number. Which would be bad enough, but the way the American political system works, the minority party that prevented the majority from addressing the crisis will accrue massive political benefits as a result of the collapse.
Conservatives won’t admit it today, but what we’re looking at is a major breakdown of the logic of the American political system.