President Obama lobbied for government stimulus almost as soon as he took office. In order to gain passage of that $787 billion spending spree, Obama warned of economic “catastrophe” including double-digit unemployment.
Roughly 9 months later, we now have proof that those billions of taxpayer dollars spent didn’t stop the unemployment rate from soaring to 10.2 percent. Still, that failure didn’t prevent one CNN anchor from asking if a second stimulus might be needed.
CNN business correspondent Christine Romans announced the latest jobs numbers on Nov. 6 during “American Morning. She said, “The unemployment rate is 10.2 percent. It is worse than economists had been expecting – 10.2 percent – we have hit double-digits on the unemployment rate now and this is the highest since the early 1980s. The number of jobs lost: 190,000 jobs lost in the month. That is a little worse than we had thought.”
Following Romans’ report, CNN anchors John Roberts and Kiran Chetry consulted author William Cohan, a contributor to The DailyBeast.com and Bloomberg, and Diane Brady, senior editor of BusinessWeek magazine. Both guests were concerned about the rising rate of unemployment and Cohan said he didn’t see “anything optimistic about these numbers.”
Instead Roberts asked, “So I guess Bill, the question many people are asking this morning is ‘Wow. How long do we have to live in fear? How long until things really start to turn around? And what about this idea of a second stimulus, purely to create jobs?’”
Cohan replied, “Well I think the administration may have to come to terms with that very shortly. I know there’s been a lot of talk about it – the question is can we afford that as a country vs. can we afford not to do it. I mean, we have huge budget deficits. We have a huge $12 trillion that the Fed and the Treasury has pumped into the economy already. Uh, you know this is not an easy problem.”
The Associated Press and other outlets have reported that a “second stimulus” is likely on the way, but will be done in “stealth” mode. Time magazine predicted “More stimulus is coming, but it just won’t be called stimulus,” because public opinion has turned against it.
The last time unemployment was at 10.2 percent was in 1983 under President Ronald Reagan.
The Business & Media Institute recently released a Special Report about network coverage of unemployment in 2009 under Obama and 1982 under Reagan. BMI found reporters desperately looking for silver linings in 2009, but consistently showing the “worst of times” in 1982 with people living out of trucks under bridges or collecting free food at a food bank. Networks reports were 13 times more negative in their treatment of Reagan compared to Obama.