Before I get to the Q&A, which we'll do in comments and otherwise would just result in a one or two sentence story, I'd like to address something quickly. Since I live in North Carolina, it was big news my local NPR station this morning (and will be for the next few days) that Paul Ryan is in our state, making his pitch for the Romney/Ryan ticket. He noted that North Carolina's unemployment rate was 9.6%, 1.3 points above the national rate, and used that to attack President Obama and Democrats.
Here is how unemployment looks in North Carolina since peak unemployment:
2010: 11.1%, 11.2, 11.1, 10.8, 10.3, 10.0, 9.8, 9.7, 9.6, 9.6, 9.7, 9.8
2011: 9.9%, 9.7, 9.7, 9.7, 9.7, 9.9, 10.1, 10.4, 10.5, 10.4, 10.0, 9.9,
2012: 10.2%, 9.9, 9.7, 9.4, 9.4, 9.4, 9.6
Unemployment between 2007 and 2008 was around 4.5%. So you can easily see unemployment skyrocketing due to the Lesser Depression, and you can see it falling from January of 2010 until roughly the 2010 mid-term elections. Then unemployment went way up, fell a little, went up again, fell a little, and is going back up.
Here's a graph of unemployment in North Carolina, compared to the country overall, by party control of the state legislature:
Make of it what you will, but I don't think that Paul Ryan has a good argument here. Unemployment was falling quickly in North Carolina, before the 2010 mid-terms and well before the national recovery. Since then, unemployment has largely mirrored the overall rate while still remaining quite high. There has been little meaningful improvement since the end of 2010.
Anyway, here's the Q&A part. Ask me any political question and I'll do my best to answer it. If you don't understand how something works, I'll explain it. If you want data-based projections, I can do that, too.
What's on your mind, Newsvine?