More than half a million Americans filed new claims for unemployment in the week ended August 14, 2010, an increase of nearly 12% since April. The four-week moving average, used to smooth volatility in the data, also increased to its highest level since 2009.1
After closing in April at an Obama administration high of 11205.03, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost more than 8% of its value in four months. “The industrial core of the economy has moved to a slower pace,” says economist Ken Goldstein. “There appears to be no change in the pace of the service sector. Combined, the result is a weak economy with little forward momentum.” 2
In Afghanistan, sixty-six United States military volunteers were killed last month, the deadliest since the 2001 invasion by American troops now counting down with less than 365 days and a wake-up until their anticipated return home.3
Barack Obama is tired. Out of touch with the problems affecting America’s mainstream, he is now resting at a comfortable distance away from the trouble of employment, surrounded by pristine ocean waters at Martha’s Vineyard, instead of spending a week-long vacation in the oil spill region to promote tourism along the Gulf Coast.4
If he did feel a need to relax for a few days, a private retreat in the mountains of Maryland – with a swimming pool, bowling alley, tennis court, fishing steam stocked with trout, archery and skeet-shooting range, golf facilities, and horse stables – is maintained for that explicit purpose at taxpayer expense, named in honor of President Dwight Eisenhower’s grandson and known as Camp David.5
1. Employment and Training Administration, “Unemployment Insurance Chartbook,” United States Department of Labor, http://www.doleta.gov/unemploy/chartbook.cfm.
2. Market Data Center, “Dow Jones U.S. Total Stock Market Index,” The Wall Street Journal, http://online.wsj.com/mdc/public/page/marketsdata.html. Global Business Cycle Indicators, “U.S.,” The Conference Board, http://www.conference-board.org/data/bcicountry.cfm?cid=1.
3. Associated Press, “Four U.S. Troops Killed in Afghanistan,” The Wall Street Journal, August 23, 2010, Asia News. Barack Obama, “Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation on the Way Forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” The White House, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-address-nation-way-forward-afghanistan-and-pakistan.
4. Jackie Calmes, “Obama Spends Vacation Day Shopping and Golfing,” The New York Times, http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/20/obama-spends-vacation-day-shopping-and-golfing/?scp=1&sq=obama%20vacation&st=cse.
5. Stephen L. Robertson, “Daily Life of the President,” in Guide to the Presidency, Second Edition, ed. Michael Nelson (Washington: CQ Press, 1996), 1001.