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The Good Job News is Bad

Ben Wattenberg, author of numerous contrarian books from the 60s to the 90s that showed America doing better than critics asserted, had a trope that "the good news is the bad news is wrong."

Unfortunately, when it comes to economic news, right now the bad news is that the good news is wrong. A fine analysis from James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI also is home to Ben Wattenberg) describes last week's jobs report as a disappointment masked in media accounts as "better than expected" employment gains.

It turns out that the increases in part time jobs is large, but is almost offset by the loss of full time jobs. That is, less desirable, low-wage, no-benefit jobs are increasing, not coincidentally, as good jobs with benefits and higher pay disappear. Writes Pethokoukis, " The underemployment rate surged to 14.3% from 13.8%" last month. Why is that happening?

One reason is Obamacare and the unwillingness of employers in medium sized industries to add full time workers. The decision to delay the law's implementation until 2015 is a sign that the White House sees it that way, too.

Add in incessant new federal regulations, new taxes, uncertainty from the creation of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau--with almost no oversight and extensive discretionary rule-making by left wing bureaucrats--and you get a business sector that is still limping.

No wonder immigration reform is facing a difficult road. American workers who can't find work at a wage level they can tolerate are not interested just now in admitting more competition from workers who will work for less.

America's major boom element is energy, no thanks to the Obama Administration.

Meanwhile, the number of people on food assistance has risen to 101,000,000--almost one of three.

You can email brucechapman@discovery.org

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