On Friday, ABC’s Jake Tapper asked White House press secretary Jay Carney to respond to a statement made by David Plouffe, a senior adviser to the president. Here’s what Plouffe said: “The average American does not view the economy through the prism of GDP or unemployment rates or even monthly jobs numbers. People won’t vote based on the unemployment rate, they’re going to vote based on, ‘How do I feel about my own situation? Do I believe the president makes decisions based on me and my family?’”
And here’s what Carney had to say in response:
Well, I understand that we’re engaged in the – or rather, the Republicans are engaged in a primary campaign, trying to get some media attention. I don’t know where the voters that some other folks might be talking to — but — or — but most people do not sit around their kitchen table and analyze GDP and unemployment numbers. They talk about how they feel, their own economic situation is. And they measure it by whether they have a job, whether they have job security; whether their house –whether they’re meeting their house payment, whether their mortgage is underwater; whether they have the money to pay for their children’s education or they don’t; whether they’re dealing with a sick parent and can afford that, or whether they can’t. They do not sit around analyzing The Wall Street Journal or other — or Bloomberg — to look at the, you know, analyze the numbers. Now, maybe some folks do, but not most Americans. I think that’s the point David Plouffe was making; that’s the point the president was making just moments ago in his statement in the Rose Garden.
Carney’s comments only make sense if you assume the unemployment rate, our GDP, and other economic indicators are detached from people’s economic situation. But of course they’re not. They are data that reflect certain human realities. So when you have an unemployment rate of 9.2 percent, a combined rate for jobless and discouraged workers of 16.2 percent, and six million Americans, or 44.4 percent of the jobless, out of work for more than six months, that translates into millions and millions of people who are suffering in very real, and in some cases profound, ways.
The Obama administration cannot deny the dismal economic data, so they’re trying to make the figures irrelevant. It is akin to someone who wants to break the thermometer because they want to deny the fever.
It’s a silly and unsustainable game the Obama White House is playing – and a sign of the sheer desperation that is now engulfing it.