Last Friday the Labor Department released economic figures that were very disappointing. A couple of months ago the U.S. economy appeared to have had some positive momentum. Any such momentum is now gone. Here is the Investors Business Dailys assessment of some of the data:
Last month, 342,000 people disappeared from the labor force. Had that not happened, the unemployment rate would have been 8.3%, not 8.1%.
Worse, the labor force participation rate has been on a downward slide throughout Obama’s presidency, as millions of workers have given up their fruitless job searches (see chart). That also masks the size of the unemployment problem.
Had the participation rate stayed where it was in June 2009 the month the recession officially ended the unemployment rate would be more like 11% today.
And when you add in all those who can’t get full-time work because of the lousy job market, the jobless rate reaches Depression-era levels of 14.5% unchanged, by the way, from the month before.
Imagine what it must be like in Spain where the unemployment rate is 24%. Spain gives our socialists something to shoot for.
In today’s Wall Street Journal, Peter Berkowitz of Stanford’s Hoover Institution has written a bracing reminder of the importance of The Federalist Papers and also how the reading of this essential document is being slighted in American higher education. The following quotes are particular gems:
… according to the progressive conceit, understanding America’s founding and the framing of the Constitution are as useful to dealing with contemporary challenges of government as understanding the horse-and-buggy is to dealing with contemporary challenges of transportation. Instead, meeting today’s needs requires recognizing that ours is a living constitution that grows and develops with society’s evolving norms and exigencies.… thus many of our leading opinion formers and policy makers seem to come unhinged when they encounter constitutional arguments apparently foreign to them but well-rooted in constitutional text, structure and history.
The Left, whether in our universities or our federal government, cannot abide a Constitution with a fixed meaning because this implies limitations on federal authority, which inherently would constrict the fundamental and ironic project of American liberalism: the radical autonomy of the individual enshrined in law, and the supervening capacity of the state to make it so. In other words, moral libertinism can only be ensured by a virtually totalitarian government. And since the Constitution has a defined meaning (why would it provide for its own amendment if its words and phrases could be re-interpreted per the desires of the political moment?), applying it as its signers intended is offensive, even primitive.
Read Berkowitz’s piece. More importantly, read The Federalist Papers and the Constitution they so eloquently and clearly explain. A good thing to be reminded why you’re a conservative, now and then.
FRC held a Family Policy Lecture yesterday featuring Pastor Steven Khoury, who offered his firsthand account of Christian ministry in Bethlehem and Jerusalem. You can listen to Pastor Khoury’s remarks below.
According to Reggie Littlejohn of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers (WRWF), the woman who helped Chinese human rights dissident Chen Guangcheng escape from his house arrest, has been “detained” by the Chinese authorities.
“According to (He) Peirong, Chen spent months on his back, pretending to be near death, so that his guards would relax their vigilance. Then on April 22, with exquisite timing, he scaled a wall and ran for his life, taking several wrong turns and falling into a river because of his blindness. Peirong drove 20 hours to meet Chen and fooled the village guards into letting her in. She disguised herself as a courier. Then she drove Chen another eight hours still wet from his fall in the river to safety in Beijing. Their plan was so masterfully executed that the authorities did not realize Chen was gone for four days.”
WRWF is a ministry devoted to ending forced abortion and sexual slavery in China. The horror of the Chinese government’s commitment to abortion through the ninth month of pregnancy in order to enforce it’s “one child” policy has resulted in enormous suffering for women, not to mention the deaths of their unborn children.
As millions of Americans take time this week to participate in our National Day of Prayer, let us pray for the protection of He Peirong, Chen Guangcheng, and their families, and for guidance for such U.S. officials as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke (who accompanied Chen to the hospital where he is now being treated), as this situation continues to unfold.