Donald Lambro

The government's official unemployment rate remained virtually unchanged, inching down to 7.2 percent. But that was largely due to more than 91,000 discouraged, jobless adults, who couldn't find full- time jobs, dropping out of the labor force.

It is important to understand that part-time employment was a large part of the jobs total, something that the news media does not emphasize.

"In 2013, nearly half of the employment growth has been in part- time positions," with 456,000 more adults reporting working part-time, says University of Maryland business economist Peter Morici.

"The jobs count may be up, but for recent college graduates and older adults seeking positions the situation is grim," Morici says. "Adding in part-timers who want full time employment and discouraged adults who have abandoned the search for jobs, the unemployment rate becomes 13.6 percent."

The national news media blames the languishing jobs picture on federal budget cuts, including the sequester and the shutdown. But the truth is that the weakening economy is the result of Obama's anti- growth, anti-job policies:

Obamacare, that has led to a great deal more part-time employment to escape its employer-paid health insurance mandates; the hefty January tax increases that have cut into capital investment and hit small businesses especially hard; soaring budget deficits (at least $650 billion in this year alone) that are sucking hundreds of billions of dollars out of the economy; and a sea of business regulations that have heaped huge, job-killing costs on employers.

Obama's mea culpa Monday, over the disastrous rollout of his not- well-thought-out healthcare plan, acknowledged that it needed more work in its application systems. Others said that the problems go much deeper than that.

Days before, when the White House was pressuring officials at the Department of Health and Human Services to begin the sign up, online system, insiders were telling superiors that it wasn't ready.

Officials held a simulated run of the Web site to test if it could easily handle tens of thousands of people at one time. It crashed on the first try when "just a few hundred people tried to log on simultaneously," the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

A month before it was to open for business, test officials had warned the administration the system was riddled with problems and not ready for prime time.

But Obama's job approval polls were falling into the low 40s and the White House was under pressure to show some progress. So officials plowed ahead with the rollout anyway, though fearing the worst.

Obama now says the problems "are being fixed," but Americans are not so sure.

A Post-ABC News poll Monday showed that a hefty 56 percent of Americans believe the Web site's many troubles "reflect larger problems with the health care law, an alarming figure for the administration," the Post said.

The White House still hasn't released specific figures on how many Americans are signing up. It's a pivotal question that goes to the core of whether the heath care plan will be financially viable in the years to come.

Early signs suggest younger Americans are not signing up in the numbers necessary to offset the costs of older Americans who are more prone to illnesses. And insiders say its programmatic flaws may be a lot deeper than the government acknowledges.

"We are now entering week four of the botched health care rollout, and with hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars spent for a system that still does not work," said House Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton who is opening hearings into the health care fiasco.

The White House will have more to say about all this in the days and weeks to come. Expect a lot of excuses.


Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.