By John Cassidy
I hate to ruin your weekend, but let’s be honest: Mitt Romney now has a good chance of being the next President.
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How good is good? Your guess is worth as much as mine, but we both know that the likelihood of a Romney victory went up considerably this morning with the release of a shockingly bad jobs report. According to Intrade, an online betting site, it jumped six per cent, and is now more than forty per cent. Obama is still the favorite, but the gap is narrowing.
Yes, it’s just one month of job figures, and things could look better a month from today. But, from President Obama’s perspective, this was a truly horrible jobs report. Nobody, and I mean nobody, was expecting the May figure for growth in payrolls to come in as low as it did: sixty-nine thousand. And nobody was expecting the April figure—at a hundred and fifteen thousand already pretty anemic—to be slashed by nearly fifty thousand, to seventy-seven thousand. ...
From an economic point of view, this is misleading. Obama’s policies helped prevent a Great Depression. Since the spring of 2010, payrolls have risen by more than four million. If the do-nothing Republicans in Congress had passed the Administration’s American Jobs Act, which contained more financial help for cash-strapped states that are still laying off teachers and other employees, many more Americans would be working.