Given he’s been in office for well over a year now, you might think that it would be past time to start giving the president credit for the state of the economy. Unless, of course, you’re a former adviser to President Obama and the news is good. If that’s the case, it’s obviously Obama’s doing.
That’s exactly the claim that Valerie Jarrett made on CNN Friday afternoon, when the former senior adviser during the Obama administration said that “we have to look at it over a longer horizon than that” — a horizon, obviously, that stretches back to the Obama administration.
Jarrett was appearing on the program to talk about a variety of issues, although it happened to be on the same day that unemployment data showed the lowest unemployment percentage in 17-and-a-half years.
Reuters reported that the unemployment rate was down to 3.9 percent against a forecast of 4.0 percent, amid slightly sluggish job and wage growth.
Still, 3.9 percent unemployment is a big deal. The last time that number was below 4 percent was in December of 2000, before the worst of the dot-com bubble burst.
According to Breitbart, the data released Friday also showed a black unemployment rate of 6.6 percent — the lowest since that statistic has been recorded — and Hispanic unemployment at 4.8 percent, tied for the lowest recorded number in that statistic’s history.
As the numbers broke, CNN’s Alisyn Camerota was on air with Jarrett, noting that the numbers were “the lowest in anybody’s memory.
“It’s been 15 months of Donald Trump’s presidency,” Camerota asked Jarrett. “Do you give him credit for that?”
“Look, I think we have to look at it over a longer horizon than that,” Jarrett responded.
“If you think about what the economy was like when President Obama took office, we were losing 750,000 jobs a month. Under his watch the unemployment rate dropped in half and it’s encouraging to see that we’re continuing to make progress,” she continued, apparently applauding the eight-year dead cat bounce her former boss oversaw.
“We want to see wages go up and I think that’s an important focus, and I was glad to see you talk about that too. So, for the workers out there who are back to work today, I think it’s very encouraging.”
So encouraging that the president deserves no credit whatsoever. It’s all Barack, baby.
In the inevitable tweet about the numbers, President Trump that predicted it wouldn’t be long before the press went back to the “WITCH HUNT” of the Mueller investigation.
JUST OUT: 3.9% Unemployment. 4% is Broken! In the meantime, WITCH HUNT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 4, 2018
If you didn’t believe him on this count, take CNN’s interview with Jarrett. After that question and two more softballs about women in politics and the #MeToo movement, here was what Camerota had to ask Jarrett: “So, Valerie, when you watch what’s happened, let’s just say this week, okay — coming out of the White House with Rudy Giuliani changing the narrative saying that President Trump did actually reimburse Michael Cohen, his long-time fixer, for this hush money to Stormy Daniels and everything else that’s happened this week — what goes through your head?”
It took less than two questions about jobs to get back to the important stuff Americans really care about: What’s up with that “fixer” Michael Cohen and the “hush money” he paid to a porn star fond of giving interviews?
While it’s worth noting that Jarrett hadn’t any advance notice of the numbers when she was asked about them, this follows a pattern set by the former president and those around him. When economic indicators were lagging during the Obama administration, it was quite fashionable to fall back on the supposed hole dug for them by the Bush administration.
Now, if the numbers Friday had been down in the dumps, there’s absolutely no way that Valerie Jarrett (or anyone else in the Obama administration) would be taking credit for them. He’s been in office for 15 months, they would loudly declaim — it’s time for him to start taking responsibility for the economic woes he’s caused!
As the proverb goes, success has a thousand fathers while failure is an orphan. That’s some wise advice about the way the world works. It shouldn’t be the motto of an entire administration.
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