Will the 10% unemployment number affect the president's agenda?

Posted: Nov 11, 2009 7:00 AM
Several months ago, former Hillary Clinton strategist Mark Penn wrote a piece for Politico.com about what a 10% unemployment number would mean for the Obama White House. He noted what urgency that level of unemployment would bring with it.

He stated the following:
If and when the country crosses that line, it will be the No. 1 news story for days, recent stock market gains could recede, and consumer confidence will fall. And whether or not the economic crisis is coming to an end, such a high unemployment level has the potential to undermine the hard-won confidence enjoyed by the Obama administration.

Last Friday, it was reported that the unemployment rate for October (the 9th full month of the Obama presidency) was 10.2%, an increase of .4% from the month prior. So far, though, that rate has not changed much about the Obama agenda. Even after those numbers were released on Friday, the Obama push for massive health care reform on Saturday got renewed momentum after a health care bill was passed that night in the House of Representatives.

However, even though the president's agenda has moved forward in spite of the two-digit unemployment number, it is likely that the high unemployment rate will hurt Obama's push for health reform as the president focuses more and more on getting a bill passed. Health care reform is facing a lot of obstacles especially as we enter the last several weeks of this year and the state of the economy will not help the 44th president. The high level of unemployment will likely become another major obstacle for reform as Americans suffer economically while the Obama administration focuses its resources not on creating new jobs but on creating a controversial  massive new government program.