Debate: Will the Economy Save Democrats in November?

Posted: Apr 04, 2014 5:16 PM

Kevin analyzed today's disappointing jobs report earlier, noting that March employment growth under-performed economists' expectations. On Fox News, I debated liberal radio host Leslie Marshall on whether an elusive economic resurgence may bolster Democrats' chances of mitigating their losses this fall:

Marshall's stats about the supposed economic benefits of Obamacare were non sequiturs. As I mentioned, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office determined that the healthcare law slowed growth and impeded hiring, compared to what would have been the case in its absence. The same report indicated that Obamacare will shrink the US workforce by the equivalent of 2.5 million full-time workers. There's no spinning that, although Democrats have certainly tried. Politico's Ben White explains why the March job figures were such a gut punch to Democrats:

So far, it’s been easy to dismiss weak economic news as the result of an awful winter. But those excuses ended with Friday’s March jobs report, the first of spring, which showed a lower-than-expected gain of 192,000 — Wall Street traders were looking for something closer to 300,000 — and an economy not losing speed but not exactly revving up for the run to the November midterm elections. Democrats were fervently hoping for a bigger number. Because if they don’t get faster growth soon, they could wind up trying to hold off Republicans this fall while fighting the triple threat of an unpopular president, an unpopular health care law and a stagnant economy that has left voters grouchy and pessimistic.

By the way, my "worst recovery in 70 years" statement wasn't conjured out of thin air (I generally try to avoid making things up). It's from a report that aired on CBS News in 2012 -- and the recovery has sputtered along ever since, with median household incomes actually fallingas things technically improve. That's a big part of why so much of the economic polling looks the way it does.