Economists call it “noise” — something like intermittent static on your TV screen I suppose. The data is confusing, but many now say our economy is in weak recovery. If that’s true, one thing could sabotage it — irresponsible, deluded lawmakers in Washington obsessed with strangling the federal government.
The stats are a mixed bag:
- Housing is up
- GDP is down
- More than 5 million new jobs since 2009, but 3.2 million lost
- Currently there are about 10 unemployed workers for every three available positions
- Household debt falling
- Disposable personal income rising
Whatever the good news, if any, Congress, especially the GOP-run House, could scuttle the economy again with another threat to slash government jobs and, more importantly, millions of private sector jobs that are dependent on federal contracts. If nothing is done, this all starts early next month.
(An irony of the Republican agenda is that their longtime determination to privatize government services means that cutbacks risk the economic health of private contractors who contribute to their campaign funds. It’s not just federal bureaucrats on the firing line!)
Here’s how the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office describes the situation:
“Economic growth will remain slow this year as gradual improvement in many of the forces that drive the economy is offset by the effects of budgetary changes that are scheduled to occur under current law.”
Translation: Cutting the federal budget right now endangers economic growth.
More and better jobs, home values, access to loans, personal income — all are at the mercy of a Congress that seems oblivious to its own impact.
Here’s hoping President Obama wins the day in this next round of negotiations with clueless lawmakers, to put economic recovery above deficit reduction for now.