The reaction to January's jobs report shows how tragically our expectations have fallen, especially among some Democrats and their supporters. Their cheerleading isn't just bad policy or bad politics, although it is both of those things. It's also callous and insensitive to the misery of millions.
It's important to keep explaining what needs to be done to end that misery. To do otherwise is to serve, however unintentionally, an insidious agenda from the right that would lower our expectations until these tragic levels of unemployment are seen as the "new normal."
An increase in jobs is a good thing, of course, even if it's far from what's needed. Here's something else that was good about the report: Conservatives keep telling us that manufacturing jobs have moved offshore permanently, but 50,000 of them were created last month. Now we can put that argument to bed and can get to work creating more of them.
The Good, the Bad, and the Urgent
But millions of Americans - including minorities and the young - have already endured years of catastrophe, with years more to come if nothing is done. Why won't more people express support for their plight and explain what needs to be done to help them?
Here's the real story: Government intervention has created millions of jobs. But those interventions were too small, so we're still years away from fixing the problem. To claim anything else is to reinforce the delusions that created the problem in the first place.
If the president and his supporters make that case clearly and forcefully, the country will be able to choose between competing visions in November. It's more likely to choose an end to its misery. The pitch is pretty simple, really: The medicine's working, but let's not stop before the patient gets well. And despite this month's report, the patient is still very, very sick.
Help is needed urgently.