Jobs and Deficit Report
Last week the Department of Labor released their jobs report for the month of March. Unfortunately, March’s report was not what economists had hoped for. The country added 120,000 jobs in the month of March, 85,000 below the predicted amount, leaving the overall unemployment rate at 8.2%.
While the country saw gains in the food services, healthcare and manufacturing industries, retail trade employment dropped. At the same time the Congressional Budget Office published a new report on the deficit for the first half of fiscal year 2012. Topping off near $780 billion dollars, the deficit is on track to reach $1.2 trillion by the end of the fiscal year according to CBO estimates.
Both reports tell a serious story about the nation’s still fragile economy and the need for serious debt reform in Washington. But while the situation is obvious even to lawmakers on Capitol Hill, most are pessimistic about the possibility of doing anything about it until after the November elections. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad of New York said, “I think Senator Reid has made the judgment, quite correctly, that there is very little chance we’re going to get the two sides together before the election,” on “Fox News Sunday.”
Though Senators Conrad and Reid say that the Budget Control Act passed last year will act as a budget for fiscal year 2013, Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough reported just last week that new budget proposals could still be voted on in the Senate. The CBO’s report proves latest efforts to control spending have not been enough. We would like to see the Senate take action on any number of the proposals before Congress that would reduce spending, bring our deficits to manageable levels, and put in place a real plan to reduce the debt instead of focusing on partisan politics before elections.