OK, the unemployment is now down to 8.8 percent, and the economy added 216,000 jobs last month. Here is the political economy of the situation, which is not as good for Team Obama as you might think:
Much more of this, please:
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Steve Kornacki of Slate makes the case:
Rand Paul was in South Carolina on Monday and will soon make appearances in Iowa and New Hampshire. On Monday he told reporters that “the only decision I’ve made is I won’t run against my dad. I want the Tea Party to have an influence over who the nominee is in 2012.” An unnamed “Paul family advisor” also told CBS News that “there’s better than a 50/50 chance that there will be a Paul in this race.”
The president told Fox’s Bill O’Reilly that he hasn’t shifted to the center. “I’m the same guy,” Obama says. Right, he’s the same guy — a guy who will try and push through as much of his left-of-center agenda as he can. If he had the votes, for instance, Obama would certainly be pushing a cap-and-trade energy plan or higher income taxes. But he doesn’t, so it’s time for Plan B.
Team Obama would surely love to run a Reaganesque, “Morning in America” reelection campaign, cruising to victory by taking credit for a dynamic economic recovery. But for that scenario to play out — or anything close to it — the unemployment rate would have to drop a whole lot. (The president’s political advisers will be closely watching the January jobs report.) In a new research note, analyst Matt McDonald of Hamilton Place Strategies, a policy advisory and strategic communications consultancy in Washington, makes the following points:
It looks like Robert Gibbs will be leaving the White House to run his own consultancy and work on Obama’s 2012 campaign. Ruy Teixeira, a politics guys not an econ guy, thinks the Obama-Republican tax deal makes it far more likely that campaign will be a successful one:
Jay Cost thinks Obama, like the economy, is kind of stuck:
The macro trend, I would say, has essentially been flat for the last few months — as Americans have developed fairly stable opinions of the 44th president by this point that probably are not easily dislodged. In the long term, the way the president gets his numbers up will be to convince the country that he is a good steward of the economy, a view most of his fellow citizens do not hold at the moment. This is why the tax cut deal was such a sensible compromise for President Obama to make, despite the criticism he received from his left flank.