Welcome to the Brave New Obama World
The master propagandists of the left have taken on a breathtaking task: selling the public on Obama's economic disaster as a good thing. The witting left understands that the "fundamental transformation" Obama promised means permanently high unemployment and workforce shrinkage, as the private sector is squeezed out of sector after sector of the economy. Thus, it becomes important to propagandize the public that there are benefits to unemployment. A population dependent on what Charles Krauthammer called the big government teat must have its consolations.
Thus we find a brilliant piece of propaganda by Peter Orszag, former OMB director for President Obama, and vice Chairman of global banking at Citigroup. From Bloomberg:
The age-adjusted death rate in the U.S. declined by 2 percent from 2007 to 2010, according to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As a result, projected life expectancy at birth rose to 78.7 years in 2010 from 77.9 years in 2007, an increase of 0.8 year.
In contrast, from 2004 to 2007, when the economy was much stronger, life expectancy rose by only 0.4 year.
Life expectancy appears to have risen more in the states with relatively large increases in unemployment. In Michigan and Illinois, for example, where joblessness rose much more than in North Dakota or Iowa, age-adjusted death rates have had a steeper decline since 2007. (In the states with the smallest increase in unemployment, the death rates have perversely risen.)
These cross-state data are consistent with historical patterns that economists Douglas Miller, Marianne Page, Ann Stevens and Mateusz Filipski have found. Their research shows that a one-percentage-point increase in a state's unemployment rate is associated with a 0.5 percent reduction in the state's mortality rate.
Orszag is careful to express sympathy for the unemployed, of course, but the piece plants the notion that there is at least an upside to a lower level of economic activity, with people making do with less. A mitigating factor, psychologically. Having planted the seed here, the meme can be adopted throughout the media, especially in the entertainment complex.
Valerie Jarrett, the ultra-powerful Obama advisor is offering more purported Shinola, telling an audience in North Carolina last night, (video here)
"And so we need to make sure that we continue to support that important safety net. It not only is good for the family, but it's good for the economy. People who receive that unemployment check go out and spend it and help stimulate the economy, so that's healthy as well." (emphasis added)
As Ed Lasky pointed out to me, others are peddling the notion that some people are going back to college because they are unemployed, a supposedly good thing because education is always good. The fact that this also pumps money (much of it borrowed from the federal treasury) into a leftist-dominated sector of the economy is unspoken but critical to understanding what is going on.
The hapless graduates, going into a diminished economy, will never be able to discharge their federal debt in bankruptcy, so this is a lifelong debt. The government will be in a position to extract money the Federal Reserve created out of thin air in the first place from the population, without needing taxes to do it. It is merely repayment of debt.
More importantly, the arrangement diminishes the standing of citizens before their government if they are in debt to, or in arrears to it. No longer the masters of their government. They are indentured demi-serfs.
So welcome to the Brave New Obama World, where we make do with less, decline into a third world status with a rich and comfortable elite keeping the populace dependent on the government for survival. It may be difficult, but it is really better for you. It is a tough sell, and realistically, the master propagandists can only hope to ameliorate the grumbling, not sell this transformation as paradise. I anticipate a wave of ironic comedies about people downsized out of employment finding a kind of happiness in all the free time, reduction of stress, and deepening family relationships if Obama is re-elected.
Richard Baehr adds:
More statistical nonsense. Why is the unemployment rate the key factor in life expectancy changes over a very short period of time? Maybe winters were not as cold. Orszag, who is a smart guy, does not even attempt to statistically correlate the data points.
So much for living in a reality-based world. Remember liberals kept blasting Bush because one unnamed WH employee supposedly expressed the comment about the problem with opponents is that they live in a reality-based world. Clearly Obama and company do not live in a reality-based world.
Jarrett on how wonderful unemployment checks are for the economy;
Jay Carney saying WH is in "no rush" to deal with Iran despite Panetta saying Iran is one year away from nuclear weapon capability;
Carney: Economic positive that people have dropped out of labor force