Today’s jobs report is one of the best Americans have seen in many years. Jobs look good; wages look good; participation looks good; and revisions look great. The average monthly job creation over the last three months is at an 18-year high; the average over the last year is at a 20-year high; job creation overall is at a 15-year high.
It’s against this backdrop that Republicans and their media allies are desperately looking for bad news. Lis Power reported this morning:
Immediately after the numbers were released, Fox News’ Fox & Friends hosts portrayed the news in a negative light. Host Elisabeth Hasselbeck introduced the segment saying, “Nicole Petallides from our sister network Fox Business has the numbers for you, beginning with an increase in the unemployment rate.”After listening to Petallides run through the positive numbers – including her explanation that the increase in the unemployment rate is “great news” because it means more people are entering the workforce – host Steve Doocy closed the segment saying, “So the headline is unemployment rate ticks up to 5.7” percent.
Sigh. After November’s amazing jobs report, Fox News simply ignored the news, deeming it unworthy of coverage. This, however, is arguably better than what we heard this morning.
The top headline is not a slight uptick in the overall unemployment rate unless you are mindlessly rooting for a weaker economy and/or trying to discourage the public before they feel encouraged. (In this case, it’s also incredibly misleading – the rate inched higher because more Americans entered the job market, which is good news, not bad.)
The New York Times added that Republicans are looking “for the dark side on the jobs report.” The key, of course, is appreciating why.
Remember, as far as the right is concerned, 2014 should have been a miserable year for the economy. Republicans predicted as much, and they were fairly specific in their case: the combination of the Affordable Care Act, higher taxes, and the Obama administration’s federal regulations would necessarily drag the economy down.
Obviously, Republicans got all of this backwards – just as they did when they predicted the Recovery Act would fail; just as they did when they guaranteed the Bush/Cheney tax cuts would create an economic boom; and just as they did when they say Clinton’s economic agenda would push the nation into a recession.
As Ben White noted, Republicans have been left “grasping for ammo.”
And that’s ultimately a pretty sad condition to be in. Americans, especially in positions of political authority, aren’t supposed to root against good news for the United States. But much of the right just can’t bring itself to celebrate, because the prospect of President Obama benefiting from a jobs boom is simply intolerable.