Friday, August 22, 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

 
Chapkis Dance brings award-winning moves to Vacaville

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

 
Ducks on the pond, sturgeon in the water

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

Jazz invasion Aug. 30 at performing arts center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
 
How I spent my summer vacation

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Small fire takes place at Solano College

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
 
Housing specialist to speak before Senior Rountable

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

Brown approves ‘dining with dogs’ law

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 4 Comments

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Aunt of toddler killed pleads not guilty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3, 2 Comments

 
San Francisco to tally bird-into-window death toll

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

GPS devices find huge water loss in western US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Cops greet students at school where plot thwarted

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

California plans aid to immigrant minors

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
California to appeal ruling tossing death penalty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Stunt blocks traffic on Golden Gate Bridge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Bodies of 2 men found in adjacent California yards

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Assembly approves greater disclosure for campaigns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
No bail for woman in Amish girls’ kidnapping in NY

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Lawyer: Utah restaurant had other chemical burn

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

 
Ice bucket challenge goes awry, firefighters hurt

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

Marathon bombing suspect’s friend pleads guilty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
US judge strikes down Florida gay marriage ban

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Gov. Nixon taking National Guard out of Ferguson

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
American Ebola doc: ‘I am thrilled to be alive’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Syria opposition: Deadly chemical attack forgotten

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Russian aid convoy advances toward Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Israel kills 3 Hamas military commanders in Gaza

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Turkey’s Davutoglu named new premier

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Thai army ruler named prime minister

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Indonesian court rejects election loser’s appeal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Liberia gives food in slum sealed to stop Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Foley case lays bare debate over paying ransom

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Pentagon: Islamic State militants will regroup

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Record drought saps California honey production

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 1 Comment | Gallery

.

Opinion

Are America’s police over-militarized and under-accountable?

By Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis | From Page: A11

 
Young men helped me, and I thank them

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

Get it straight in Ferguson

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11, 9 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoon: Aug. 22, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

 
.

Living

Today in History: Aug. 22, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Aug. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

My whole house shakes when my new neighbors drop their barbells

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes: Aug. 22, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Aug. 22-28, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
The voice-overs can’t save ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: B2

Review: A sweet Moretz rescues ‘If I Stay’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Emmy hopefuls play the angles to nab trophies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Seth Meyers prizes his new role as Emmycast host

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Entertainment calendar Aug. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

Julianne Hough dances back to ‘Dancing’ as judge

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Jon Hamm hopes Ferguson will come out stronger

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Fade to black: Leonard Maltin ending movie guides

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
‘Doctor Who’ returns with a new season on BBC America

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: B6

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

 
Local boxers make weight and are ready to fight

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Serena Williams to face Townsend in Open 1st round

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Loose sod at new Levi’s Stadium removed

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Raiders’ Woodson returning to Lambeau, faces Pack

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Phelps back in international comp, advances in 100

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Tigers’ Price throws 1-hitter, loses to Rays 1-0

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Philly loses to Chicago in LLWS

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Ryu sets course record at Canadian Women’s Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
McIlroy stumbles to 74, worst start in 2 months

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Cal interim AD Williams jumps into new role

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Teams test out a new helmet, but does it work?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

Goalkeeper Tim Howard taking break from US team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Signups for Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

.

Business

Big 2015 Chevy Tahoe remains a rare breed of SUV

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Applications for US unemployment aid fall to 298K

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

United lures top fliers with promise of a hot meal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11 | Gallery

 
Family Dollar rejects Dollar General offer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

S&P 500 closes at a record; Hewlett-Packard gains

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Ford recalling more than 160,000 vehicles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Bank of America settlement likely to benefit few

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
US housing recovery appears to be back on track

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Airline group forecasts uptick in Labor Day travel

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

Richard Ray Jr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Mary Louise Loveall

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

George ‘Wayne’ Hause

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Sharon Ilene Boyd

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

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

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9