The Republicans have their pants in a knot about the Labor Department’s announcement that the unemployment numbers came in under eight percent. There must be a conspiracy or foul play because that does not fit neatly into the narrative they want to spin that the sky is falling, and America will not survive unless the fiscal magician, Willard “Mitt” Romney is elected and assumes the presidency of the United States.
I challenge the readers of this post to explain to me the involvement of the president in the hiring of workers. Tell me, what direct control do they have? If you look at the US Constitution, there are three branches of government, each with specific authority. The last time I checked, the president does not have the authority to hire beyond the federal government which requires legislation. I challenge anyone to draft legislation that authorizes hiring and have it survive the Republican controlled House. The president’s statement taken out of context that “the private sector is doing fine” reflected the fact that government hiring, local, state and federal is on the decline so to improve the employment numbers the private sector has to increase employment above historical levels to make up for the decline in the public sector. The employment numbers cannot be supplemented with the hiring of policemen, teachers and sanitation workers. The Republicans are slashing these occupations as fast as they can.
But looking inside the employment numbers you will find politicians at every level taking credit. Candidate Romney is famous for claiming that he was responsible for employment growth in Massachusetts during his term, not George Bush, then President, not Congress, but the great governor of the State, Willard “Mitt” Romney. Any positive news on employment is routinely taken credit by the respective politicians. Just read the resumes of every Governor who experienced employment growth. They take credit for all of the growth, but it must be the president if there is a decline; something is wrong with that picture.
Looking deeper into the employment numbers, this is a democracy and a capitalistic society. Individuals and corporations make decisions regarding who is hired and how many. There is no connection between Wall Street, and there is zero nexus between their profits and employment numbers. Wall Street generates profits without adding workers which leaves us with manufacturing and services. McDonalds and Wal-Mart are the largest employers in the country and despite the assumed power of the presidency; he has zero authority to influence their hiring decisions. They hire consistent with their intent to maximize profits. Politicians and their supporters will suggest that the president establishes a “climate” within which these decisions are made, but despite the climate it is their decision to hire.
There is no required formula that, if the federal government does X, private employers must do Y. The president can create an atmosphere that is conducive to expansion, but individual employers establish their own rationale. A small business owner can increase profit to the extent that he/she can “afford” to hire but affording to hire and hiring are two distinct decisions and defy perceived logic. McDonalds has the right to focus on the expansion in the Asian market in lieu of expanding the American market through hiring. You have millions of employers making individual decisions regarding the distribution of profits. There is no communist plan that, if regulations are changed, favorable tax policy is legislated or the business owner is a personal friend of the president; therefore, the company will increase employment through hiring. These are decisions made by individuals and companies that have their own business plans and the president of the United States is no more than a spectator who keeps track of their decisions.
I suggest that this obsession with the employment numbers, giving credit or blame to the president is misplaced. The president is an interested spectator, while the decision of millions of employers are beyond his control and are very close to being irrelevant to his stewardship.