WASHINGTON - The jobless rate has risen to nearly 8 percent, economic growth has screeched to a halt, and there's grumbling among President Obama's most loyal voters about 14 percent black unemployment.
So Obama swung into action last week to deal with it. He shut down his job creation council, an advisory group of top business people, labor leaders and other political cronies, with whom he rarely met during its two years of existence.
And then Alan Krueger, who chairs Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, issued an incomprehensible Orwellian statement, saying that the increase in unemployment was "further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression."
Huh? Earth to Obama, come in please. We do not read you. Say that again.
Obama's executive decision to fire the business leaders on his Council on Jobs and Competition -- at a time when jobs are in short supply -- was right out of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland in which the Queen of Hearts was frequently given to declaring "off with their heads" when anyone displeased her.
Jay Carney, the president's oily spokesman, insisted that "The work of the jobs council was very valuable," but added, "While the president didn't agree with all of its recommendations, he agreed with many of them and acted on a number of them."
That's not the way many on Capitol Hill saw Obama's distant relationship with this underused council that was put together in the 2011-2012 election cycle to show that the president was doing something about unemployment when he really wasn't doing anything at all.
"The president treated his jobs council as more of a nuisance than a vehicle to spur job creation," said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner.
The council was window dressing from the start and no substitute for economic growth policies to unlock venture capital investment, risk-taking, new business formation and faster job creation.
Heading into the fifth year of his presidency, the hike in the annual unemployment rate to 7.9 percent was a cold shower for the administration and, especially, its allies in the news media.
"At some point you begin to ask if we are ever going to have a real recovery," writes Fortune magazine's senior editor Stephen Gandel on the CNN Money web site.
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