On the good news front, Alabama continues to set records for low unemployment.
In figures released by the state Friday, Alabama’s unemployment rate was down to 3.5 percent. That’s an all-time best and down from 3.7 percent in May.
“It’s the state’s lowest jobless rate ever, and better than the most recent national unemployment rate of 3.7 percent,” reported The Associated Press. “The number represents a growth in employment of 10,456 jobs from last month. The number of people counted as unemployed dropped to 79,378.”
Ironically, the good news for the state comes as Gov. Kay Ivey is beset with her worst job approval numbers since taking office.
“According to the latest edition of Morning Consult’s Governor Approval Rankings, Ivey’s approval fell 17 percentage points between the first and second quarters, with the latest data showing 57 percent approving and 29 percent disapproving,” the survey research organization said last week.
Those are still good numbers, but they’re a far cry from where Ivey was, ranking as the most popular governor in the U.S. Now she’s fallen out of the Top 10, which Morning Consult attributes to Ivey’s support for Decatur Rep. Terry Collins’s legislation that would ban virtually all abortions in Alabama.
That may seem surprising, but according to an NBC/Survey Monkey poll released Friday, a slight majority of people even in Alabama say they don’t want to see Roe v. Wade overturned — 51 percent to 46 percent with just 3 percent not responding.
That gives Ivey something in common with President Donald Trump. Any president blessed with the current economy should be riding high in the polls, but Trump’s approval, according to the latest FiveThirtyEight composite, stands at 42.7 percent, with 52.4 percent disapproving.
Trump inherited a growing economy and his tax cuts have further spurred economic activity, at least in the short run. Probably more important than the tax cuts, however, is the president’s deregulation agenda.
There is no doubt burdensome regulations are a drag on the economy.
Some, however, do serve legitimate purposes.
If taxpayers are going to be on the hook to bail out the financial sector, then banks and other financial institutions shouldn’t engage in risky business on the public’s dime.
Also, as we’re learning the hard way, given recent revelations about chemicals in the Tennessee River, the Environmental Protection Agency has a vital job to do, and rolling back environmental regulations has costs that don’t immediately manifest as dollars and cents.
Yet, as Trump himself has complained, he gets little to no credit for the economy, even though presidents typically get credit (or blame) for economic performance whether they had anything to do with it or not. It’s a perk of the job.
But there is an obvious reason for this. Trump is a divisive figure by his own design.
Contrary to what Democratic political operative James Carville claimed, it’s not always “the economy.” Sometimes it’s about values and basic human decency.
When our leaders seek to divide rather than unite, they may bolster their base, but they squander support from the vast majority of people who just want peace, prosperity and the pursuit of happiness.
Everyone should be enjoying a good economy, but unfortunately it isn’t all about the economy.