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October Job Numbers

The October employment numbers could have been worse. A net of 85,000 new jobs were created, and unemployment edged down a notch to 9 percent. But it basically hasn’t moved since April. Meanwhile, the number of people suffering long-term unemployment, more than 27 weeks, declined 366,000 to 5.9 million. That’s 42.4 percent of total unemployment, a staggeringly high number.

As Karl Rove pointed out in the Wall Street Journal  the other day, numbers such as these don’t get presidents re-elected. Indeed, no post-war president has been re-elected with unemployment this high, right direction wrong direction this bad, (74 percent think we’re headed in the wrong direction), job-approval rating so low (43 percent) and consumer confidence so shaky (60.9 percent).

And yet, the president continues to demand we try again what failed the first time, to accuse Republicans of only caring about the rich and being unpatriotic, and to insist on tax increases he knows he can’t get from Congress. It’s hard to see how that is a winning strategy, especially with the dismal numbers that keep coming in.

The captain of the Titanic was in better shape.