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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Ted Cruz Effect: lost jobs

Published October 27, 2013 4:24 pm

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

There are more fruits of the tea party's labors coming soon for the nation's economy.

After a lackluster jobs report issued late because of the government shutdown, the White House says the drag on job growth will continue this month.

That's hardly a surprise, given that the 16-day tea party- inspired shutdown probably shaved 0.6 percentage points off fourth-quarter growth. That's sizable given that annualized growth was only a tepid 2 percent to begin with.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his colleagues in the radical wing of the Republican Party can add that to their list of accomplishments. (The only other accomplishment of note, of course, was raising a lot of money for Cruz.)

In a post on the White House blog, Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said there were signals that the shutdown had taken a bite out of the economy. He cited an increase in initial claims for unemployment in the first week of October and that Gallup's job creation index faltered.

Furman told CNBC: "Overall, there's no question this brinkmanship is going to cost us a couple of tenths on our growth rate in the fourth quarter and decent number of jobs in October."

We realize that some Republicans were chastened by this debacle, but the tea party wing seems to be itching for another fight in January when the government will next run out of money.

Establishment Republicans shouldn't allow that to happen.

Overall, the numbers for October were average. So far this year, average monthly job growth has been 182,000. In September, companies added 148,000 workers, fewer than expected. In August, 193,000 jobs were added, which was better than expected. The unemployment rate is now 7.2 percent.

It's always dangerous to draw conclusions from incomplete data, and by their very nature monthly reports are only snapshots in time. And, yes, Furman has an agenda — the White House's agenda.

But other economists agree with him about the harm caused by a two-week paid vacation for the federal government. There's a price to be paid for such nonsense, and now we're paying it.

And watch out, come January. The economy does not need another round of brinkmanship courtesy of the tea party wing of the Republican Party.