The economy is much worse than Obama would like us to think. While Obama complains that he doesn’t get credit for improving the economy, he should check the statistics he’s using.
Yes, the “official” unemployment rate has fallen below 5 percent, but a large part of this is due to the fact that many of the unemployed have simply given up looking for work and are no longer counted in the labor force. Additionally, while Obama has made prison reform an issue near the end of his presidency, he’s done nothing to prevent the prison population from swelling during his tenure.
The rising prison population in this case doesn’t relate to crime, but rather economics. Those who are incarcerated are also classified as out of the labor force, and therefore not “unemployed” (while they might as well be).
But the fact remains that 1 in 6 young men in the United States are either unemployed or in jail. Wow. That’s quite an accomplishment.
As Breitbart reports: According to the Congressional Budget Office, out of the 38 million young men in the U.S. in 2014, 16 percent were jobless (5 million or 13 percent) or incarcerated (1 million or 3 percent). The share of young men without a job or in prison has increased substantially since 1980, when just 11 percent of young men fit into either category.Economic, policy, and skill-set changes contributed to the the large increase in joblessness and incarceration from 1980 to 2014, CBO said. On the economic side in particular, CBO pointed to the recent recession, technological advances, more women entering the workforce and such debate-inspiring issues as outsourcing and low-skilled immigration.
The especially large increase in joblessness among less educated young men may be partly attributable to changes in technology that have reduced demand for the labor of those young men. Some research suggests that a subset of that group—less educated young men who are native born—may have seen increased joblessness because of an influx of young immigrant men with little education and high rates of employment, but the evidence is mixed.
The CBO noted that federal policy has also added to the employment plight of young men, namely a drop in military employment, crack downs on the earnings of deadbeat dads, increased spending on welfare programs, and the minimum wage.
[F]ederal spending on means-tested benefits—that is, cash payments or other benefits for people with relatively low income or few assets—increased substantially between 1980 and 2014, possibly reducing young men’s incentives to work,” the CBO report reads. “Higher minimum wages may also have increased joblessness among young men. The federal minimum wage, adjusted for inflation, has not consistently risen since 1980, but there has been an increase in the number of state and local minimum-wage laws in recent years.
As you probably noticed, the vast majority of these problems have liberal origins. They should remember that next time they try to portray themselves as champions of the underprivileged — well I guess they are, in that they’re champions at making more people underprivileged.
[Note: This post was authored by The Analytical Economist]