In the last few months, my hospital has seen a dramatic spike in uninsured admissions. In October alone, the percentage of our patients with no insurance jumped by 7%. This is obviously the result of increased unemployment. People without jobs tend to be uninsured.

These patients recieve the same high-quality care as all our patients get, but they do put considerable stress on our financial position. Popular mythology notwithstanding, community hospitals are by no means immune to the ill effects of economic recessions.

Thus, it is with increasing impatience that I listen to talk of “recovery” from the White House, the “news” media and various left-leaning economists. No matter how many whoppers these people tell, there is no such thing as a “jobless recovery.”

The nation now staggers under a 10% unemployment rate that promises to stay in double-digits for at least the next two years. That means we are in a deep recession that is getting worse. How does this unemployment rate compare to the previous eight years?

2001 —————————————– 4.7%
2002 —————————————– 5.8%
2003 —————————————– 6.0%
2004 —————————————– 5.5%
2005 —————————————– 5.1%
2006 —————————————– 4.6%
2007 —————————————– 4.6%
2008 —————————————– 5.8%

Average unemployment during the Bush-Cheney years was 5.26%—-HALF what it is now. Thus, more and more people are frustrated with the excuses we’re getting from Obama’s supporters. One of Sullivan’s readers provides the perfect analogy for this kind of BS:

If our economy is in “recovery,” then what is preventing companies from actually hiring people?  I hate saying this, but this is feeling like another “Mission Accomplished” to people.

I’m an unashamed admirer of G.W. Bush, and I think the final draft of history will treat him far better than has the “first draft,” but I also get that the “mission accomplished” thing was a blunder.  So, why is it that Obama’s supporters are unable to admit the obvious?

Just before last year’s election, they loudly declared that we were in a recession, though unemployment was below 6% and GDP was growing. Now that we have 10% unemployment, it’s a “lagging indicator.” It would be easier to respect Obama’s supporters if they’d drop the double standard.

Comments 2

  1. Jack4 wrote:

    You are putting a political spin on a subject that has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with macro economics 101. I don’t like to contribute to the nasty tone of rants on the web, but frankly you have no idea what you’re talking about. First of all, GDP was not growing at the time of the election. We were in a recession. GDP was shrinking. More important to your point: Increases in unemployment always lag economic downturns, largely because companies don’t like to fire people. Once revenues drop far enough, they have no choice and begin layoffs. And as economic activity slows, self-employment opportunities dry up as well. And no one rehires until they absolutely have to, because they want to be absolutely sure every hire will increase production enough to more than offset the cost adding the employee. This has nothing to do with Bush or Obama; look at a chart that overlays unemployment on top of recessions historically, and the pattern is clear. So of course unemployment during the Bush years would be lower than it is now, as we crawl out of the worst recession in 70 years. There is another faulty premise behind your complaint, that somehow Obama could do something that would get employment down to the average of the rest of the decade. First of all, if you admire Bush, you should believe in free markets and limited government intervention. The reason we believe in such things is because we know government intervention usually doesn’t work very well. So why do you expect Obama to solve the problem in 11 months? Especially when it’s a problem that he didn’t create: the bursting of a bubble with origins in the early 80s, if not earlier. Second, the biggest single portion of the stimulus was tax cuts, of which Bush, of course was a champion. That said, there has been some marginal slowing in the pace of unemployment thanks to the stimulus spending, as governments have used the money to pay salaries for teachers and cops, and hired road crews for municipal projects.
    If you want to complain about Obama, fine. But then focus on real issues, not macro economic trends that no president, from any party, can control.

    Posted 23 Nov 2009 at 11:28 am
  2. Catron wrote:

    “We were in a recession. GDP was shrinking.”

    Well then, Jack4, it should be easy for you to produce the periods and percentages of GDP shrinkage.

    Without those data, you’re just making a gratuitous assertion (otherwise known as shooting BS).

    Posted 23 Nov 2009 at 1:03 pm

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