The president jokes about unemployment and says ATM machines kill jobs. Mean-while, one of his top aides says 2012 voters should avoid “affixing blame.” Sounds to us like someone who knows he’s in trouble.

The Republican National Committee could not have scripted a more damning sound bite. President Obama on Monday attended his administration’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness at an enviro-friendly lighting firm in North Carolina.

ATMs and automatic check-ins were invented since the stimulus? They weren’t around when the country was enjoying 4.5% unemployment under George W. Bush? It’s a socialist fairy tale to blame automation for killing jobs; it’s always brought new jobs because it lets businesses expand faster.

In 1963, AFL-CIO president George Meany similarly called automation “a curse” and “a real threat” that “could bring us to national catastrophe.” But automation reduced the price of any and every type of manufactured good, and made more wealth available for new projects and new jobs. Has the U.S. economy of the last half-century been a “catastrophe”?

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