Thursday, September 3, 2015

Who's at Fault? Corbett or Obama?

New jobless figures are out and PA unemployment rate is up. Who will get the blame?

Who's at Fault? Corbett or Obama?

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Pennsylvania's new jobless figures are out and the state's unemployment rate is up.

Question now is who gets the blame, Gov. Corbett or President Obama?

The state Department of Labor & Industry released August figures Thursday. The data shows that Pennsylvania's unemployment rate rose in August for the third straight month and is now at the same level of the national rate, 8.1 percent, for the first time in six years.

The department says payrolls shrunk by about 1,200 in August and it estimates the number of jobs in the state at about 5.7 million, which is fewer than the state had in 2005.

Now you'd think that in the heat of this presidential race, the Romney campaign -- by almost all accounts trailing in Pennsylvania -- would grab onto the data and blame Obama.

And perhaps it will.

But Thursday, state House Democrats came out fast and furious to blame Corbett.

"Today’s employment data release is a major development coming almost at the midpoint of Tom Corbett’s term. The “Corbett Jobs Plan” (whatever it might be) has failed. There is no other way to put it," said a statement from Bill Patton, spokesman for House Dems.

The statement blames the jobless numbers on Corbett cuts in social services and education funding and failure to implement a transportation policy which Democrats say would create jobs for road and bridge repair.

It adds, "When it comes to the Marcellus shale industry’s growth, Tom Corbett often makes job claims that are barely grounded in reality. Today’s data about the overall jobs picture in Pennsylvania is real. It tells an important story, but it’s not one you will hear Tom Corbett talking about."

In fact, Corbett just touted the industry that his policies helped advance in the state and again claimed job growth because of it.

"In addition to the tens of thousands of jobs, I'm here to say thank you, thank you to the industry that has added another $200 million to the common good," Corbett said in remarks to a gas drillers gathering in Philly.

So maybe, since Corbett's policies are portrayed as creating jobs, the Romney folks won't be here to claim Obama's policies are killing jobs. Or maybe Romney says Corbett's policies are saving the state from worse numbers.

Either way, more Pennsylvanian's are out of work. Who's fault? Corbett? Obama? Both?

Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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