Boehner blows it on jobs report

Aug 05, 2011

Dan Primack was a senior editor at Fortune from 2010 to 2016. He was also the author of Term Sheet, Fortune's daily newsletter about deals and dealmakers.

John Boehner doesn't let the jobs numbers get in the way of a political argument.

The July jobs report wasn't released until 8:30am this morning, but it looks like House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) wrote his reaction before seeing the actual numbers.

In a statement posted to his website, Bohener wrote:

“Today’s unemployment report is more proof that all of the Washington spending, taxing, and regulating is devastating our economy. While the American people are asking ‘where are the jobs?’ the Democrats running Washington are determined to punish small businesses with higher taxes and more red tape – including hundreds of new regulations last month alone – and to keep their spending binge going at all costs. Instead of more jobs, they’re creating more fear, more uncertainty, and more debt."

Really? Today's jobs numbers aren't anything to shout about, but they hardly reflect economic devastation. The economy added 117,000 new jobs, and the unemployment rate fell from 9.2% to 9.1%. Both were above consensus expectations, and the only actual decline was in the public-sector jobs (private sector added 154,000). Aren't Republicans in favor of smaller government?

If you want to argue that today's report signals stagnation rather than significant growth, you'll get little argument here. But it's patently false to call it a negative reaction to Obama's economic policies. I understand why Boehner writes his statements ahead of time, but shouldn't he make some edits when the underlying facts have changed?

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