WASHINGTON, D.C. — White House officials had hoped today would be the day the unemployment rate would fall below 10 percent. As they did in November, when it dropped from 10.2 to 10 percent, the press releases would be sent out talking about how the stimulus is working, light on the horizon, etc.
The actual number — which held flat at 10 percent on the nose despite a loss of 85,000 jobs — indeed spurred a flurry of press releases, just not the ones the White House had hoped for. Rep. John Kline, ranking Republican of the House Education and Labor Committee, was the first Minnesota lawmaker to fire back.
“America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs should not continue to be saddled with the uncertainty that has come from the Democrats’ big government agenda,” Kline said. “Republicans stand ready with bold solutions to spur job creation and economic growth while meeting the many challenges our nation faces. It is time to put the tired, failed policies of more government and more spending aside and bring the relief and support small businesses and entrepreneurs need.”
The state Republican Party, which is heavily targeting Democrat Rep. Tim Walz for defeat this year, wasted little time in dinging the 1st District congressman for his vote on the stimulus bill.
“Today’s report showing that 85,000 jobs were lost in December again demonstrates that Tim Walz’s ‘stimulus’ bill has been a complete failure,” said Tony Sutton, chairman of the Minnesota Republican Party. “The bill Walz called a ‘life preserver’ has done nothing to help Americans find jobs. Like his votes for job-killing cap and tax legislation, an irresponsible budget bill and government run health care, Walz’s vote for the ‘stimulus’ shows he is a rubber stamp for the failed policies of national liberals like Nancy Pelosi. In November 2010, it’s time Walz lost his job.”
For his part, President Obama pointed out that the rate of job losses has drastically decelerated from when he took office in January and that November was the only time in two years that jobs had ticked upward — a subtle reminder that the downturn started well before his term and under a Republican president.
“The jobs numbers that were released by the Labor Department this morning are a reminder that the road to recovery is never straight, and that we have to continue to work every single day to get our economy moving again,” Obama said. “For most Americans, and for me, that means jobs. It means whether we are putting people back to work.”