Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Michelle Obama's Spain Trip – Smoke and Mirrors

By now, you've probably heard many of the Right Wing pundits on radio and the web thumping their chests and pontificating about how terrible our First Lady Michelle Obama is being for taking a trip to Spain. “How dare she!” they rant, “When our economy is so terrible.” Sorry folks. I don't buy it. I don't even care. If I had the money to travel to take a vacation with my kids to Spain right now, and the First Lady has the money, the last thing you'd see of me for the next week is my backside as it enters the plane.

Was it smart, from a PR perspective? No way. Was it intolerable and, dare I say it, un-American? Same answer. No way.

Many Left Wing pundits and followers may be screaming, “Who's to blame for feeding it to the media, this way?” Outside of the European press, who first reported it, I'd say nobody. What I wonder, though, is if someone within the White House administration, or the upper-ups of the Democratic party, didn't leak it, first.

Now that I've got you totally confused, let me tell what the rants about her trip have amounted to: smoke and mirrors. However it got leaked, the Far-Right has bought into it, hook, line and sinker. They've been screaming about Michelle Obama going to Spain and completely lost two much more important things that happened at the exact same time: unemployment rose in July, and the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) downgraded the forthcoming economic outlook for America

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis released a statement on the July 2010 Employment figures. Her report stated that the monthly unemployment rate has not changed — remaining at 9.5% — while the economy has had a net job gain of 71,000 in the private sector. Overall, employment declined by 131,000. How that big of a change doesn't effect the reported unemployment rate I can only guess. What we need to keep in mind is that the unemployment rate only reports the number of American's filing for unemployment benefits, not those that have lost their benefits because they've been out of work for too long, and are still unemployed.

I believe these figures has quite a bit to do with the FOMC lowering their economic outlook. I admit, the way the FOMC announced this bad news was hard to follow. They came out and and told people they were reinvesting certain funds to cope with the problem, rather than just say, “There's a problem.” To fully understand what they are doing to fix the situation may require a degree with at least a minor in economics. In one of the most interesting “spin doctoring” I've seen, the FOMC's statement said, “the pace of economic recovery is likely to be more modest in the near term than had been anticipated.” That's PollyAnna-speak for, “Things aren't going as well as we thought.”

To read more about un-employment rates, go to: Democracy Now and My Bank  Tracker.

You can find more about the Fed's actions at Business Week, NPR, and The Washington Post.

No comments: