Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com
My last post was about the wealthiest Americans and polling showing that they are (highly) disinclined to see the government as a force to increase the employment rate. And then there was this Howie Fischer piece on Tuesday:
Following some less-than-spectacular jobless reports, the Ducey administration is scrapping at least temporarily – and perhaps forever – the monthly media briefings on the state’s unemployment situation.
Kevin Donnellan, director of the Department of Administration, said his agency will continue to produce and distribute monthly reports. The state gets federal funds to gather the data, which are public records.
But it was always the monthly briefings, which have been provided for more than three decades, that provided the “why” behind the numbers. And it has been that analysis which has sometimes been at odds with the claims of not just Doug Ducey but prior governors about how well things are doing…
…But the move comes on the heels of Murthy pointing out some questions not only about the pure unemployment numbers but noting that many of the jobs actually being created in Arizona are in low-wage sectors of the economy…
…Murthy, however, said the data hide a much more downbeat picture of Arizona’s economy, pointing out that private employers in the state added only 300 new workers from the prior month – the smallest gains for any April since the end of the recession.
The Ducey admin quickly rescinded the decision, possibly realizing it wasn’t a good look for them, while not reinstating economist Aruna Murthy (who had been producing the report for five years) to her position.
It’s reasonable to assume that yanking the unemployment report and firing the party-pooper economist was a preemptive face-saving move on Ducey’s part, since his economic philosophy of tax cuts ‘n austerity (modeled after Sam Brownback’s Kansas) is hardly the job creating bonanza it’s been sold as. But maybe that’s getting too deep about it. Might it also have been rooted in a general unwillingness of Ducey and his wealthy benefactors to even address unemployment? Recall what pollsters found to be the priorities of the richest Americans. Those priorities definitely do not include alleviating unemployment, as I pointed out in my last post.
It could be that the main intention behind eliminating the monthly unemployment report was simply the desire to avoid having to talk about boring poor people’s problems. Don’t confuse rich people’s interest in causing such problems for poor people with an interest in understanding or mitigating their effects. The elites want high unemployment and they have never made a secret of it.