Carroll County Times
Carroll County

Michael Zimmer: Vote for Republicans in the Senate

The September jobs report has been released. It pretty much reminds me of what I've come to expect from the President Barack H. Obama's version of an economic recovery. The economy added 148,000 jobs last month. Unemployment as measured by those who are actively seeking employment dipped from 7.3 percent to 7.2 percent.
It would seem like good news at face value. Then, when you look at the numbers in detail, you get a completely different notion. The labor force has been steadily shrinking.
I wouldn't put all the blame for the declining labor force on the President. Some of it relates to demographics of the Baby Boomer generation aging increasingly into retirement.
However, some level of blame would seem appropriate to assign to the administration for the sluggish economy and struggling employment situation. According to an AP report Tuesday, the "percentage of Americans working or looking for work remained at a 35 year low in September."
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the labor force participation rate in January of 2009 was 65.7 percent. This September that rate was 63.2 percent.
That leaves us with two very simple questions for our elected officials in Congress and the White House. Where are the jobs, and what can we do differently to jump start the economy?
The president and his allies in Congress would point us in the direction of increasing "investments" in government-based spending to spur economic growth. The Republicans in general would suggest lowering tax rates and government regulation.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could have some sort of ability to test which set of policies might actually generate more jobs. Fortunately, we have states in our country. We can measure things like relative unemployment rates to help understand which kinds of policies are gaining traction and which are losing ground.
The September unemployment rate for North Dakota is 3.0 percent. That's the lowest in the country. The next best are South Dakota at 3.8 percent and Nebraska at 4.2 percent. What do those three states share in common besides a thriving jobs picture? All three have Republican governors.
Let's consider the other side of the spectrum. The highest state unemployment last month was in Nevada. Gov. Brian Sandoval gets full credit for being a Republican in that state. However, given the dependence his state has on tourism, it would seem their job prospects are tied to the overall health of the national economy.
The next highest unemployment in September was Illinois, with a rate of 9.2 percent. Its nearest neighbor for poor job prospects is Rhode Island at 9.1 percent. Both those states have Democratic governors.
What other comparison could we make to determine whether the policies of the Democrats or Republicans might jump start our economy? Perhaps a side-by-side with President Ronald W. Reagan is in order.
Both Reagan and Obama inherited tough economies. Reagan emphasized tax rate reductions and lowering regulatory burdens on the private sector. According to analysis by Mike Ciandella writing for the Media Research Center, during his first term the economy created 11.2 million jobs. That's an average rate of 233,333 net new jobs a month.
In contrast during Obama's first four years in office America added 4.66 million jobs. That averages to 97,020 jobs being added per month. It takes 150,000 new jobs just to break even given population growth.
There is one thing upon which I can agree with the president. We do need change. Shifting which party controls the United States Senate might be a good place to start. Next year voters will hopefully send a strong signal that will turn things around.