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Obama ally explains that the economy is worse than the White House claims

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

President Obama’s agenda enjoys the support of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., but the self-described “democratic socialist” gave a diagnosis of the economy yesterday that could have been written by a Republican operative.

“Real unemployment, as I mentioned, it’s not 7.7 percent; it is really over 14 percent.” Sanders said during a Senate Budget Committee hearing yesterday. “Youth unemployment, a whole future generation, is today close to 25 percent. These are kids who are not getting their feet on the ground, not developing a career. God only knows what happens to them as they proceed in life. Unemployment for people of color is even much higher than the general population.”

The White House painted a different portrait of the economy last week. “While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides evidence that the recovery that began in mid-2009 is gaining traction,” White House economic adviser Alan Krueger wrote. “The economy has now added private sector jobs every month for three straight years, and a total of 6.35 million jobs have been added over that period.”

Sanders is not impressed. “Do you know that nearly two-thirds of the jobs created today are low-wage jobs that families can’t live upon?” he asked yesterday.

He told colleagues yesterday that the Democratic budget cut too much spending and didn’t raise taxes by as much as he preferred.

“I would have gone much further by making sure that at least 50 percent of deficit reduction since 2010 was achieved by raising revenue from the wealthy and large corporations,” Sanders said in his prepared statement.

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