The Dying Private Sector


The unemployment numbers for December are out, and they contain a curious anomaly.  The official rate is 9.4 percent, which is touted as a bit lower than expectations, although that all depends on whose expectations you’re talking about.  As House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) points out in a press release, the Democrats promised their “stimulus” plan would have it under 7% by now.

The anomaly is that job creation was far below expectations.  The Associated Press reports the private sector added 113,000 jobs, while the government lost 10,000, for a net job increase of 113,000.  That’s about 30% lower than analysts were expecting, and barely enough to keep pace with population growth.

How can we account for a modestly falling unemployment rate, combined with very disappointing job creation?  The answer is that the official unemployment number from the Bureau of Labor Statistics deliberately excludes people who aren’t looking for work anymore.  Tyler Durden at ran the numbers, and concluded “the labor force in America has plunged to a fresh 25-year low.”  We’ve been stuck at 9-10% unemployment for a record-breaking 20 months, but the reality behind this dreadful statistic is even worse: the official rate is only that low because so many people are permanently withdrawing from the workforce.

Combine this with the tremendous surge in government hiring and salary, plus Washington’s increasing share of our Gross Domestic Product (up from 22.1 to 25.5 percent under Obama), and you have an ugly picture of a dying private sector.  It’s decomposing right before our eyes.

The growing army of discouraged job-seekers demands increasing unemployment benefits, which have become a new form of welfare.  $57 billion was spent extending those benefits during the high drama of the lame-duck Congress in December.  That unemployment money is sucked directly out of private-sector businesses.  Further extensions will continue the expansion of government as a share of GDP, a process that is proving to be fatal to our economy. 

The private sector can barely stand under the weight of the government monkey clinging to its back.  Further expansions of government control will only make the situation worse.  That includes further regulations and subsidies, in addition to explicitly job-killing measures like drilling moratoriums or the EPA’s cap-and-tax regulations on energy production.  The economy will not recover as long as business “success” depends on having the right connections to the ruling class.

The big new Democrat talking point, repeated by everyone from Barack Obama to Nancy Pelosi, is their determination to focus on job creation.  Pelosi put it like this: “House Democrats will keep our focus on the creation of jobs – putting the American people to work.  We will measure every policy from both parties as it comes forth as to whether it creates jobs, whether it strengthens the middle class, and whether it reduces the deficit instead of heaping mountains of debt onto our children and our grandchildren.”

That means we can count her as a “yes” on the repeal of ObamaCare.  The first repeal bill will come before the House next week.  If it passes, it will be the greatest single job-creation act in the history of the United States.  It will rescue the middle class from the blood-stained jaws of dependency on a dangerously unworkable government system for their health care, and it will remove a titanic mountain of debt from the backs of our grandchildren.  

If Pelosi doesn’t vote “yes” on repeal, and Obama doesn’t sign it, nothing else they say about “job creation” should be taken with the slightest bit of gravity.  The survival of our terminally ill private sector depends on the atrophy of government.  There are no other options, and there is nothing else to discuss until that process has begun in earnest.