Political ads are flying on television, the Internet and in print. Some of the figures and information can be very confusing and can also be intentionally deceiving. The United States has experienced an economic crisis that almost led to a complete economic crash. So what do the numbers actually mean, and how might they affect the future?
There are two types of jobs that are reported: public sector jobs and private sector jobs. Dictionary.com defines private sector jobs as “the area of the nation's economy under private rather than governmental control” and public sector jobs as “the area of the nation's affairs under governmental rather than private control.” A lot of political ads talk about “smaller government." When this terminology is used, it is referencing public sector jobs.
So, how does President Obama compare to former President Bush when it comes to public sector jobs? After all, Republicans are a party that stands strong on “smaller government." The chart shows job creation under both presidencies. It is extremely clear that under President Obama, the number of public sector jobs is significantly lower than it was under Bush during the same time period of his presidency.
President Obama has stood strong on his belief that true economic growth comes from private sector jobs, not public sector jobs. The job growth in private sector jobs tells a tale of its own. During the first 10 months of Obama’s presidency, he experienced significant private sector job loss following the burst of the housing bubble. However, since that time, private sector job growth has steadily increased. In addition, comparing private sector jobs under the Bush administration, more private sector jobs exist under President Obama.
According to ABC News, “More private-sector jobs were created in 2011 than any year since 2005,” Obama said, taking credit for the gains. “After losing more than 8 million jobs in the recession, obviously we have a lot more work to do. But it is important for the American people to recognize that we’ve now added 3.2 million new private sector jobs over the last 22 months.”
So why are the numbers so confusing? Why are they so misleading in the political ads? Most people hear something that fits into their mindset and they believe it to be true. They don’t stop to research the data or question the validity of the facts. The next time you see facts and figures, take a moment to look a little deeper and make sure you understand the whole picture, not a snippet of data that is intended to confuse and mislead your decision making. The future of our country is going to be determined in November. The greatest hope would be that voters go to the polls with accurate information when they cast their ballot.
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