Friday, August 1, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Positive numbers, but politicians hedge their bets

By
From page C2 | July 06, 2014 |

WASHINGTON — Does anyone in politics dare talk up the economy? Apparently not.

After five months of steady job growth and with unemployment hitting a six-year low, the reaction in Washington Thursday was a collective “Yeah, but …”

Across the political spectrum, liberals and conservatives still found reason to despair and point fingers — a function of election-year politics, been-there-before skepticism and honest perceptions by many Americans that the recovery has yet to improve their lives.

Consider this from Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota: “Too many working families are still treading water. Our focus now must be on solutions that strengthen the middle class and give more hardworking Americans a fair shot by raising the minimum wage, making college more affordable, and investing in workforce training.”

And this from Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus: “We’re glad to see some Americans found work last month, but we can’t rest until jobs are easy to find. That’s why Republicans have passed dozens of jobs bills in the House of Representatives. Sadly, Democrats in Washington, D.C., have other priorities.”

Even President Barack Obama, who would be eager to take credit for an economy on the mend, felt compelled to throw in a dampening caveat as he drew attention to the 288,000 jobs created in June, to the lower, 6.1 percent unemployment rate and to the fastest job growth since 1999.

“As much progress as has been made, there are still folks out there who are struggling,” he said Thursday. “We still have not seen as much increase in income and wages as we’d like to see. A lot of folks are still digging themselves out of challenges that arose out of the Great Recession.”

To be sure, there are real economic reasons to be wary, or at least not euphoric, over the most recent report.

The labor market remains weak, with a labor force participation rate stuck at 62.8 percent, the lowest since 1978. Construction jobs reached their highest level since June 2009 but are still more than 1.7 million jobs below their 2006 peak, according to an analysis of jobs numbers by the Associated General Contractors of America.

Moreover, hiring has tended to be predominantly in low-wage jobs, leading to stagnant wage growth, and the number of hours worked per week has not changed. Gains in paychecks are small enough that they can be wiped out by inflation. “The headline number masks the lingering structural weakness in the U.S. labor market,” said Lindsey Piegza, a chief economist at the Sterne Agee brokerage house.

“Even if we saw June’s rate of job growth every month from here on out, we still wouldn’t get back to health in the labor market for another 2 1/2 years,” said Heidi Shierholz of the liberal Economic Policy Institute.

More important, beyond those statistics, are public perceptions of the economy.

An Associated Press-GfK poll in May, found that the share of those surveyed who called the economy “good” stood at 34 percent, while 65 percent described it as poor. That’s about the same as it has been all year, though slightly above where it was during the partial government shutdown in October. Few expected improvement in the economy over the next 12 months, and more expected it to get worse.

The perceptions have a partisan hue, as well.

Economic confidence as measured by Gallup found Democrats had the highest and Republicans the lowest.

In the face of that, politicians are not likely to cheer an economic number.

“In the voting booth, economic perception beats economic statistics every time,” said Republican pollster Whit Ayres.

What’s more, Democrats and Republicans want to blame each other for not enacting policies they say would create more jobs. So Obama complains about Republicans not increasing the minimum wage and Republican House Speaker John Boehner says Obama has failed to lead on issues such as trade and workplace flexibility.

“In order for us to make real progress, the president must do more than criticize,” Boehner said.

With the economy still emerging as the top issue of the day with a plurality of voters, each side will continue to brand the other as uncompromising obstructionists. And even if the economic trends show improvement, the fall campaign season may be coming too quickly to change the battleground.

“It takes a long time for economic statistics to be felt in people’s pocketbooks,” Ayres said. “It may be too late at this point to affect the political environment of the midterm elections.”

Indeed, neither side has an incentive to tout much progress.

“For Republicans, the reality is that they are not going to want to give credit for anything that Obama should be credited for,” said Ken Warren, a political scientist and pollster at St. Louis University. “As for Democrats, when the public feels some way in the polls and it’s not going to play well, even the Democrats in this case would see a downside.

“To contradict what the people think can be perceived as liability.”

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Mr. Clean: Dennis Regan offers friendly jokes, with a bite

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
‘Boyhood’ mature on music, moments

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B1

Gemstones shine at Solano County Fair

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Trifecta: ‘The Who’s Tommy’ third play in three months

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Japan Summerfest returns this month

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Vallejo police arrest suspect in shooting death

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Highway 12 to close overnight in Jameson Canyon

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

Fairfield man settles suit against Raley’s

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
Air district calls Spare the Air alert

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Solano Tea Party Patriots schedule meet

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Details limited after shooting leaves 1 with injuries

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

Stabbing victim dies in Vacaville

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
Suisun City police log: July 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: July 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Union: California prison staff told to fake checks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Abbas seeks broad support for war crimes charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Dow plunges as multiple worries vex investors

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
A look at the impact of Wisconsin’s union law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds 2011 union law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
As US job market strengthens, many don’t feel it

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

US, UN announce deal on 72-hour Gaza cease-fire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Appellate court overturns high-speed rail rulings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Report: Secrecy enveloped Bay Bridge construction

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Californians to see increase in health plan costs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Candidate goes homeless to show economic gap

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Yosemite wildfire weakened, evacuations to end

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

California ex-mayor sentenced in corruption case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
US warns against traveling to Ebola-hit countries

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

CIA spied on Senate, internal review finds

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Investigators reach Ukraine jet wreckage site

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

See-through mice reveal details of inner anatomy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Congress races to finish VA, highway bills

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

NASA to test making rocket fuel ingredient on Mars

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Demoted worker shoots CEO, kills self in Chicago

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Opinion

Nice guy becomes House majority leader

By Dan Walters | From Page: A11

 
Editorial Cartoons: Aug. 1, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
Why do so many Americans support Hamas

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

To err is human – but not in print

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11

 
Should union organizing be a civil right?

By Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis | From Page: A11

.

Living

Community Calendar: Aug. 1, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History for Aug. 1, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

My irregular monthly cycles were a symptom of cancer, not menopause

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes for Aug. 1, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Aug. 1-7, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Review: Boseman drips with charisma as James Brown

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
‘Godfather of Makeup’ Dick Smith dead at 92

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Dionne Warwick knows her way to San Jose

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Starz’ ‘Outlander’ brings novels to life vibrantly

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Entertainment calendar Aug. 1, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
‘Sharknado 2′ whipped up storm of viewers, tweets

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

A’s deal Tommy Milone to Twins for Sam Fuld

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Expos fall short in 10-9 loss to Leghorns

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7

Chekwa taking reps with Raiders while Hayden sits

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
A’s get Lester, Gomes from Red Sox for Cespedes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Safety Bethea finding a groove with new 49ers team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Dumdumaya takes third in World Junior/Junior Olympic tourney

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B8

Lynch ends holdout, arrives at Seahawks camp

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Commonwealth Games athlete convicted for assault on rival

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Rich get richer: Rays’ Price traded to Tigers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Dustin Johnson takes leave of absence from golf

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Mudcats get 15-7 win in Auburn Classic

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B8

 
Another decent start for Woods at Firestone

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Phelps to compete in 4 events at US nationals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Ravens’ Rice: His actions ‘totally inexcusable’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

AP Source: Trump advances in Bills sale process

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Nick Watney leads PGA Barracuda Championship

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Derrick Brooks set standard for NFL linebackers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

 
Signups for Friday, Aug. 1, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B9

.

Business

Daimler launches new version of tiny Smart car

By The Associated Press | From Page: C1

 
Debit overdraft fees often exceed cost of purchase

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

In San Francisco real estate, $1M won’t buy much

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Facebook’s Internet.org expands in Zambia

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Iliad of France makes surprise bid for T-Mobile US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Target taps outsider as CEO for needed shakeup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

SeaWorld, Southwest Airlines ending partnership

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Panasonic, Tesla to build big US battery plant

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

.

Obituaries

Clifford C. Hemler

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
.

Comics

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9