The Buzz

BuzzChatter Wednesday: Fingers point in both directions over latest jobs numbers

Updated: 2013-10-23T12:34:43Z

By STEVE KRASKE

The Kansas City Star

Today’s pithy pronouncements racing ‘round the political world:

• “While job growth remained solid in September, there is no question that the focus of policy should be on how to achieve a faster pace of job growth by increasing certainty and investing in jobs, rather than the self-inflicted wounds of the past several weeks that increased uncertainty and inhibited job growth.” — Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers on the jobs report issued Tuesday.

Furman also acknowledged that recent indications suggest the labor market worsened in October. But he also has a point. Republicans often talk about the need for certainty so that employers can plan. The lack of certainty in recent weeks, and continuing now into January and February when another government shutdown could prevail, only adds to the uncertainty.

• “This data reflects not an increase in the number of jobs created, but an example of just how many people are giving up hope of ever finding a job and leaving the workforce.” — Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp, a Republican.

Huelskamp is right. The numbers Tuesday were milk-toast at best with the prospect of a more sour jobs report at the end of the month. The economy remains stuck somewhere between slumping and soaring. The president’s poll numbers have dipped because of questions surrounding the Affordable Care Act, but also because of a lack of a more sustained recovery.

• Insider interviews and a review of technical specifications by The Associated Press found a mind-numbingly complex system put together by harried programmers who pushed out a final product that congressional investigators said was tested by the government and not private developers with more expertise. — key sentence from an AP story that chronicled the red flags that builders of the Obamacare website spotted while it was still being put together.

Lots of folks apparently knew weeks ago that a website meltdown was in the works. This came after the government spent at least $394 million in contracts to build the federal health care exchange and the data hub. You read that right: $394 million.

• President Obama’s biggest problem when it comes to selling the American public on the so-far rocky rollout of his health-care law isn’t John Boehner or Mitch McConnell or even Ted Cruz. It’s Jon Stewart.” — first sentences of a Washington Post story on a major p.r. problem for the Obama administration.

Host Jon Stewart has been lambasting the program’s slow start, and that’s a problem for the administration because Stewart’s “The Daily Show” attracts a huge share of young viewers. That’s a problem because the government needs young people to sign up to make the program work.

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