From Bob Willis and Courtney Schlisserman at Bloomberg.com:
The so-called underemployment rate -- which includes part- time workers who’d prefer a full-time position and people who want work but have given up looking -- rose to 17.3 percent in December from 17.2 percent.
The number of discouraged workers, those not looking for work because they believe none is available, climbed to 929,000 last month, the most since records began in 1994.
Normally, this kind of news would doom the Party in power to a Midterm Election rout. This next Midterm Election may well be an exception.
Watch for the Democrats to begin spending money like its going out of style as the Midterm Elections approach. The Stimulus moneys are still largely unspent. That will change as the election approaches. The Stimulus moneys were never meant to be spent to improve the economy, rather their purpose was to stimulate Democrat election chances in the midterms.
Karl Rove discusses this at the Wall Street Journal.
But Americans shouldn't be misled by the election year ploy: Mr. Obama rigged the game by giving himself plenty of room to look tough on spending. He did that by increasing discretionary domestic spending for the last half of fiscal year 2009 by 8% and then increasing it another 12% for fiscal year 2010.
So discretionary domestic spending now stands at $536 billion, up nearly 24% from President George W. Bush's last full year budget in fiscal 2008 of $433.6 billion. That's a huge spending surge, even for a profligate liberal like Mr. Obama. The $102 billion spending increase doesn't even count the $787 billion stimulus package, of which $534 billion remains unspent.
Mr. Obama can placate congressional Democrats by arguing that all that extra spending he has already crammed through can cover their spending desires at least through the 2010 congressional elections.
This will be an interesting election cycle.