Higher Jobless Rate Adds Fuel To Partisan Battle : It's All Politics Worse jobless numbers were used to partisan advantage by top GOP leaders and White House officials.
NPR logo Higher Jobless Rate Adds Fuel To Partisan Battle

Higher Jobless Rate Adds Fuel To Partisan Battle

Rep. John Boehner. Harry Hamburg/AP Photo hide caption

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Harry Hamburg/AP Photo

Friday morning's report that November's jobless rate rose two-tenths of a percent to 9.8 percent, is shaping up as more fodder for both sides of the partisan debate over taxes and unemployment insurance.

For Republicans, the Labor Department report that the economy generated only 39,000 jobs in November and even lost retailing jobs in the month before Christmas, was another opportunity to condemn the Democratic opposition.

House Speaker to be Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) issued a statement accusing Democrats of wasting time by trying to advance what Republicans have been calling "job-killing" policies.

An excerpt from Boehner's statement:

“Unfortunately, Democratic leaders continue to insist on wasting time with meaningless votes as they try to make it as difficult as possible to stop their job-killing tax hike.  Families and small businesses have had enough of politicians in Washington talking about creating jobs while doing everything in their power to kill more jobs.  This is exactly the kind of Washington game-playing the American people voted against on Election Day.  The lame-duck Congress should do the right thing and vote immediately to cut spending and stop all the tax hikes.  If they don’t, the new House majority will in January.

Meanwhile, Austan Goolsbee, chair of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, said the latest employment and unemployment data argue for extending jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed.

An excerpt from Goolsbee's blog post.

While the overall trend of economic data over the past two months has been encouraging, today’s numbers underscore the importance of extending expiring tax cuts for the middle class and unemployment insurance for those Americans who have lost their jobs.  Failure to do this would jeopardize hundreds of thousands of additional jobs, and leave millions of Americans, who are out of work through no fault of their own, on their own...

... It is essential that we take the additional targeted actions that the President has recommended to increase growth and job creation, such as extending tax cuts for the middle class, investing in our infrastructure, providing tax incentives to encourage businesses to invest and hire here at home, and promoting exports abroad.