Rashid: Let’s Talk About That April Jobs Report
By Qasim Rashid
May 9, 2021

No, President Biden’s policies didn’t create lower job numbers. Qasim looks at the jobs report and breaks down the numbers.

The lower than expected April jobs report ignited an onslaught of right wing criticism on President Biden. Republican Representative Rob Wittman—who you’ll recall helped ignite the deadly January 6 insurrection and then voted to overturn the election—released a statement about the April Jobs Report. He said “our current economic stagnation shouldn’t come as a surprise. This is a direct result, or lack thereof, of Joe Biden’s anti-growth policies.”

He goes on to demand President Biden keep the $1.9 trillion tax cuts for billionaires passed on strict partisan lines by the GOP—ignoring that the Trump tax cuts decimated the middle class and padded the pockets of billionaires.

But Wittman and the GOP’s detachment from economic reality isn’t new. Over the past 32 years, a Republican has been president for 16 years and a Democrat has been president for 16 years. In the 16 years a Democrat has been president, the American economy added a net 35 million jobs. Meanwhile, in the last 16 years a Republican has been president, the American economy has added a net 0 jobs. That’s right. Under GOP presidents over the last three decades, look at jobs lost versus jobs gained. Based on the data, America lost more jobs than we added in each case.

President Clinton won in 1992 running on a message of President George Bush’s failed economy. He left eight years later after creating 23 million jobs and a federal surplus. Then President Obama lifted America out of George W’s massive deficit and recession. He delivered the longest period of sustained job growth in American history. President Trump ended that job growth and left the nation in economic recession and debt. And FYI, the Trump recession began in February 2020, before the pandemic was declared or impacted our economy.

Ignoring All The Facts

Ignoring all these facts, pro-insurrection sycophants like Rob Wittman still claim it’s Joe Biden’s policies that are hurting the economy. Ironically, the 266K jobs added under President Biden in April are more jobs than added by the last three Republican Presidents over 16 years—combined. But even if we momentarily ignore this detestable GOP economic history, consider why we’re seeing slower than expected job growth? It isn’t because Americans are lazy, lack motivation, or want a handout.

On the contrary, it’s because corporate policies continue to undermine the American worker. American workers are overwhelmingly offered no living wage, no paid sick days, no pre-k childcare, no affordable healthcare, and no maternity or paternity leave—all pro-worker policies the GOP continues to block. Combine all this with a deadly pandemic, and you see a dystopian picture of forcing American workers to either choose their health and safety or put food on the table. A horrid choice.

Adding insult to injury, the US Chamber of Commerce is now demanding the repeal of $300 UI benefits. How cruel and backwards. Yet states like Montana are actively working to repeal those UI benefits and force American workers back to work in a sub living wage, no healthcare environment during a pandemic.

Let Me Be Clear

Let me be clear. We don’t just need jobs. We need good paying jobs that provide an actual living wage and human dignity. That’s what American people (indeed all people) deserve. Jobs that do not pay a living wage are not jobs, they’re exploitation. Billionaires and corporations know they cannot staff their exploitative jobs at poverty wages.

Instead of raising the wage and providing basic benefits, they demand Congress end $300 UI benefits, all the while pocketing the massive corporate tax cuts with stock buybacks. That billionaires increased their wealth by over one trillion dollars during the pandemic further demonstrates that we don’t suffer from a lack of resources, we suffer from an excess of greed.

Never forget, it’s not billionaires who drive the economy, it’s working Americans. President Biden’s American Rescue Plan has already demonstrably decreased poverty, child hunger, and economic disparity. To stay on the right track we must additionally ensure a living wage, healthcare, paid sick time and parental time off, and child pre-K—all as a baseline. Rather than find fault with progress, career and corporate funded politicians like Rob Wittman should learn to serve the American people, for once.

Qasim Rashid is a human rights lawyer, author, and Truman National Security Project Fellow. Follow him on Twitter @QasimRashid.

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