This is a rush transcript from "Your World," September 2, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF “YOUR WORLD”: And they might want to be demanding some answers for what is ailing this market and why it appears to be ailing this market.
This is what got them going today, an unemployment rate that is staying stubbornly high at 9.1 percent. But here's the kicker, not a single job added to the economy in the last month. And that is refueling concerns we could be looking at a return to a slowdown, maybe even another recession.
Now, with today's roughly 2.25-point hit on top of yesterday's roughly 1 percent hit, we have done in the first two days of trading in September what we almost did for the whole month of August. In other words, in this new month, we’ve lost just about as much ground as we lost in the entire volatile month of August.
Now, two days does not a trend make, but a lot of folks here who have been joining me are nervous. They're worried, obviously not too worried. Some of them obviously frequented a few bars along the way. But, nevertheless, trust me, some of them were worried.
Now, this comes on the heels of very declining poll numbers for the president of the United States and concern about what he's going to say next week when he addresses the nation.
Governor Mike Huckabee has been all over that. He joins with us now with a look at what this overall number could be saying about the economy and what it could mean for the presidential race.
Governor, good to have you.
MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: Well, thank you very much, Neil.
I saw these job numbers come out today, and I realized that my wife going shopping probably created more jobs today than the president of the United States in all of the month of August.
HUCKABEE: It’s pretty amazing when you think about the fact that all of the emphasis and the focus that he said he's been putting on jobs, and not any jobs created in the entire month. It does show that there is a dismal economic climate out there right now.
CAVUTO: All right, now, it might be dismal to the point of setting up unrealistic expectations ahead of the president's speech next week.
We are told from White House officials they’re trying to tone that down a little bit, trying to lower the expectations, but they’re very high for a joint session of Congress speech. Did the president put himself in a box?
HUCKABEE: Well, he's put himself in a lot of boxes. This is just the latest of them.
The first box was the box that he put himself in after the "porkulus" bill when he said that we wouldn't have unemployment rates that would rise above 8 percent if we just passed all this spending. And we passed the spending. Well, we didn't. They did. The net result is the unemployment rates have consistently been above 9 percent for the entire time that all those federal dollars have flowed out.
Honestly, I'm not sure what he can say to the American people other than: I'm sorry. I messed up. We’re going to do some different things.
But, unfortunately, it appears that he still wants to do the same things that he has been doing, with one notable exception. And that is backing off of some very, really I would call them draconian EPA regulations that were very much hurting the creation of jobs. Now, that made the left mad.
But it’s something that at least happened today that showed that the White House is maybe beginning to get a little bit of religion and, this time, religion toward something other than what they have been doing for two-and-a-half years.
CAVUTO: Well, we should stress that, whether it's getting a little religion, it’s sort of crawling into the cathedral, because a lot of the other regulations are staying in place. Seven of the big eight are staying in place.
That means $7 billion in added costs. Now, those in favor of them, Governor, as you know, have been arguing that it saves businesses in the long run. Obviously, you don't agree with that.
But as I was talking about, Governor, I do want to go back to what’s happening in the market, not always a great barometer, not always an accurate, but a worrisome one. And I'm wondering, after a volatile August and now a volatile couple of days into this first new month of September are you worried about another recession?
HUCKABEE: Well, I think we have to be, because there's just not a lot of consumer confidence. In fact, numbers are consistently showing that consumers are afraid.
In my own home state of Arkansas, I was looking at some employment figures and then, more tellingly, the revenue figures. And they’re down dramatically for the second month in a row, most notably at the sales tax level.
If you survey states across the country, what you’re seeing is a dramatic decline in sales. That shows consumer confidence is falling, not rising. We should have an uptick in sales with the back-to-school purchases that people are making.
When you see a downturn at the state level in August and September, Neil, that is a very bad sign, because that's one of the months that you normally will see a big uptick as people are preparing to get back into school, buying the things for their school supplies and school clothes. That's not a good sign.
And it’s all over the country at the state level, a big barometer to look at for a coming recession.
CAVUTO: The criticism, as you know, Governor, of the Republicans is they’re very good at whining about how little the president is doing or getting done, but when it comes to solutions of their own, not many.
Is that a valid criticism? Do you think that they should be clear and on message either with big tax cuts or anything like that, and they’re not, or what would you say?
HUCKABEE: Well, I think they have been clear. Cut, cap and balance is a very specific proposal. It had very clear guidelines as to what they would cut, how they would cap and how they would balance.
There was nothing ambiguous about that. The president pooh-poohed the idea from the very moment it came out of the Republican Congress, essentially made sure that it was dead on arrival. Harry Reid wouldn't even bring it up on the Senate floor to let it get a vote.
So I don't think you can blame Republicans. At least give that a hearing, if you want to shoot it down on the Senate floor or shoot it down with a presidential veto. But to say the Republicans haven't put forth a plan is just not really accurate, because they have.
CAVUTO: Does it worry you, though, Governor, that their approval ratings, that is Congress in the aggregate, is lower than the president's?
HUCKABEE: Yes, it is hard to believe anybody could get any lower than anyone in government right now.
(LAUGHTER) CAVUTO: Right.
HUCKABEE: I think that -- well, I won't use the illustration I was thinking of. It would probably get me in trouble.
CAVUTO: I had a feeling what you were going to illustrate, so I'm glad you didn't.
HUCKABEE: Yes, I'm sure you were. I'm glad I didn't too.
CAVUTO: All right.
HUCKABEE: But the point is that it’s a tough time.