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White House: Unemployment Will Stay Above 9 Percent

The White House’s mid-session review carried some grim news today, projecting that unemployment rates will stay at 9 percent next year with a scaled-back overall economic growth rate. That 9 percent is the key number, because, as ABC News reports, “no president in modern times has won re-election with unemployment as high as 9 percent.”

That may be true, but has any other president been forced to deal with Mideast uncertainty followed by a severe earthquake followed by a tsunami followed by Tea Partiers mucking up the debt ceiling debate in congress? The Obama administration made sure to add this “string of bad luck” into its report, once again:

Second, 2011 has seen drags on the economy in the form of a sharp rise in oil prices, the disruption to global supply chains as a result of the earthquake in Japan, a slowdown of growth in Europe, a sluggish rebound in the housing market, and uncertainty surrounding congressional action on the debt ceiling, all of which have delayed the recovery further. In sum, economic growth and job creation, while positive, have not been strong enough to bring down the unemployment rate to an acceptable level.

It’s not that these issues haven’t had an impact on the economy, but what president doesn’t have to contend with natural disasters, the Middle East, and congressional gridlock? The more Obama rehashes this litany of grievances, the more it sounds like he’s in over his head. There was a way to include these incidents in the review without making it sound like the economic recovery would have been in fine shape if it weren’t for events outside the president’s control.



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