Friday, August 2, 2013

Economics in the Land of Oz

Looking for that man behind the curtain

As I wrote a few weeks ago, I attended a Congressional breakfast attended by the three representatives from northern Virginia. During the concluding question and answer forum an earnest young woman stepped forward and asked who in Washington she could contact to help break political gridlock and get Congress moving forward again.

After some hemming and hawing, one of the delegation suggested that the woman write to the House majority leader. So instead of demonstrating leadership and offering his plan and course of action to make the House effective and relevant again, this Member of Congress pointed his scorn at and conveyed his responsibility to someone else.

Early today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its employment data for July. Twitter reaction from politicians was expectedly partisan. "Official unemployment rate drops to 7.4% while creating more jobs in the private sector. 44 months of positive job growth," said one. "Economic policies are turning full-time jobs into part-time ones," said another. You can probably guess each member's party.

Journalist Steven Dennis nailed it, asking: "Has Congress done anything this year to make this jobs report better?" Perhaps we should all click our heels together three times – it has about the same effect as asking our elected officials to lead.