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Friday, April 27, 2012

Going Back to That Amazing Statistic: 92.3 Percent of all the Jobs Lost During the Obama Years have been Lost by Women

It's been a couple of weeks since Mitt Romney peddled that point to counter the gender gap meme, with reasonable success. Now, while it does not demonstrate that a real "War on Women" is being waged by the Obama Administration, as Mr. Romney asserted, it is worth noting two things:
  1. The statistic is real.
  2. President Obama owns it.
Women have lost 92.3% of all the jobs lost since Barack Obama took office. The Administration and its allies in the media are quick to point out that that fact doesn't tell the whole story, and, in a rare moment of clarity, argue that the context does matter, at least in this case.

Yes, yes, yes:
  • The recession began in early 2008, well before Obama became president.
  • Recessions generally hit men first by beginning with traditional male jobs like construction, well before traditional female jobs, like teaching, are affected.
  • The number of jobless men resulting from the Great Recession is 2x that of women.

*** Sidebar 1
This is one of those instances-so-rare-they-occur-as-often-as-random-mutation-and-natural-selection-leads-to-a-new-species, i.e., an admission from the left that there is such a thing as traditional male and female jobs, or even (non-derisively) "tradition," for that matter.
*** End sidebar 1

Therefore, in the proper context, that 92.3% of all the jobs lost since Barack Obama took office is nothing more than a curious numerical artifact. And only shows how big a mess he inherited from George W. Bush.

*** Sidebar 2
Of course, the Administration would prefer to play the correlation is causation game like this:

(image source: Matthias Shapiro, politicalmathblog.com)

But then that leaves them open to this:
(image source: Matthias Shapiro, politicalmathblog.com)

*** End sidebar 2

This is where the ownership question enters. Now, there are actual limits to how much a president "owns" the state of the economy. In fact, he does not deserve all the credit for when things go well, nor does he deserve all the blame when they don't go well. But consider this:
  • Prior to being president, Barack Obama advocated for the very policies that led to the financial crisis that triggered the recession.
  • While running for president, Barack Obama participated actively in the discussions regarding the diagnosis and the prescription for the financial crisis.
  • As a US Senator, while running for president, Barack Obama voted for the TARP bail-outs.
  • As president-elect and president, Barack Obama advocated for the $800 billion so-called stimulus, including, with his surrogates, making claims that the stimulus would prevent the unemployment rate from exceeding 8%.

 OK. So what?

The president claiming he inherited the financial crisis is a bit like the son who was working as a manager for the company that was augering in before the old man died and who then had the gall to complain that he inherited such a lousy company.

Nevertheless, the recession didn't start on his watch and that will allot him the benefit of the doubt with many people. What was on President Obama's watch, however, with him being the Mr. Cool, Wizard of Smart, that he's alleged (hoped?) to be, was that the recession wasn't supposed to be that deep, or certainly not that long and that deep, such that the job losses were never supposed to migrate from those traditional male jobs to traditional female jobs.

That's what. Those female job losses were never supposed to happen.

The president got the Keynesian stimulus he wanted, and he's had 3+ years to "pivot to jobs." In the context that the nation's biggest issue continues to be the economy and jobs, the women's jobless rate being so dramatically affected since Obama took office is but one way to keep that issue front and center during the campaign. And we don't need a dead-cat bounce before we look for the many ways to skin that cat.

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