At first glance, the December jobs report seems to be a step in the right direction. An unemployment rate of 9.4 percent, the lowest level in 19 months. And a president, happy to boast about another 103,000 jobs being created last month.
However, renowned economist Peter Morici points out two important caveats. For one, 260,000 Americans simply dropped out of the labor force in December. They are out of work, yet no longer counted as unemployed by the government. And secondly, 103,000 jobs is nowhere near the number of jobs we need to be adding each month. To bring unemployment down to 6 percent by 2013, businesses need to hire an average of 350,000 new workers each month.
Even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who continues to defend his Quantitative Easing (aka money-printing) program, couldn't ignore the writing on the wall during a Senate hearing Friday morning. "If we continue at this pace", said Bernanke, "we are not going to see sustained declines to the unemployment rate."
This "pace" that we're operating at is working out just fine for the incumbent power structure, but it is strangling the rest of America. And it's not the first time a group of outdated industries has controlled our government for their own benefit, and at the detriment of everyone else.
It took a courageous -- and at the time crazy -- leader by the name of Teddy Roosevelt to step up and change that. He took on the biggest financial giant there was, JP Morgan, and he won. Roosevelt's underlying premise -- if you're too powerful and you're profiting at the expense of the American people -- then you are an enemy of freedom and the government must break you up. It was that simple.
Here we find ourselves today in a similar situation, where six industries have a stranglehold over Washington. And the draining of our current and future wealth will only continue as both the media and the political class not only tolerates but spreads the phrase "free market" when the reality doesn't match the rhetoric.
Our politicians continue to take money from massive corporations to subsidize them in a rigged marketplace that only cares about protecting the incumbent structure. At the same time, the American people are drowning in a red sea of debt caused by perpetuating banking, health care, energy and defense systems that are expensive, ineffective and protected from competition.
So I have a challenge for those so-called free market Republicans who rode a wave of voter discontent into Washington. I challenge you to end massive corporate subsidies. To end tax loopholes. And to end rigged trade with China and release the true power of free markets.
This can no longer be simply a talking point to win votes. Because this broken system is not only costing American jobs... it's costing us the very prosperity and freedoms that this country was founded on.