By Josh Marks
The Denver debate should be a distant memory after today’s jobs report that the unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent. That is the jobless rate when Obama took office in January 2009 when he inherited the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression. Seven sounds a lot better than eight and much, much better than the peak of 10 percent in October 2009. Significantly, in the mind of the American public, 7.8 percent sounds closer to the 7.2 percent unemployment figure that Ronald Reagan rode to reelection in 1984.
What Obama has achieved trumps Reagan because he inherited a global economic meltdown not seen since 1930. And Reagan wasn’t up against a hostile Republican Congress hellbent on his destruction. Despite all Obama was up against, he managed to pass Keynesian stimulus in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that was actually bigger than FDR’s New Deal. The unemployment rate could have been even lower had it not been for right-wing state governors implementing draconian public sector cuts and austerity-obsessed, obstructionist congressional Republicans blocking the American Jobs Act.
But despite an entire political party putting rigid ideology above the good of the country and global events out his control, President Obama has America headed in the right direction in terms of jobs and the economy. He must be reelected to finish the job and keep America moving forward.
Republicans keep falsely claiming that Obama is bringing European-style socialism to America, but it is the Republicans who want to bring Europe’s disastrous austerity measures to our shores.
And how is austerity working across the Atlantic?
Eurozone unemployment is at a record high with almost 18.2 million people out of work and an unemployment rate of 11.4 percent. Austerity measures are slowing down economic growth in Europe. The unemployment rates in Spain and Greece are both 25 percent as both countries have instituted massive spending cuts that has prolonged the pain. This is what Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and the Republican Party would like to bring to the United States.
With Romney’s first term consumed with rolling back all the progress Obama and the Democrats have made — the Recovery Act, health care reform, Wall Street reform and more — and Ryan working with Republicans in Congress to make his anti-government budget fantasy a reality, America could see the unemployment rate start to increase again as European-style austerity measures take effect.
But we can prevent this nightmare scenario by reelecting Barack Obama and VP Joe Biden and progressives and moderates at every level of government who will work with the president instead of obstructing and filibustering everything. That means electing progressives and moderates in Congress and at the state, city and local levels.
An unemployment rate of 7.8 percent is great news, especially so close to the election. Just to parse it down some more — 873,000 Americans reported having jobs and employers created 114,000 jobs in September. That means the number of unemployed Americans is at 12.1 million, the fewest since Obama took office.
It is up to us to make sure the unemployment rate continues to decrease under President Obama. We must work hard to push Obama over the top this November. Make phone calls. Knock on doors. Talk to your neighbors and friends. Put up a lawn sign. Slap a bumper sticker on the back of your car. But most importantly, register to vote and then VOTE!
Here is Obama talking about today’s great news at my alma mater — George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.