Surprisingly (to me at least) it’s been several weeks since we last looked at the nation’s recession. Maybe we were hoping that we would wake up and find it was all a bad, bad dream.
Basically, the time since Jan. 20, 2001 has been a bad, bad dream; our collective misfortune is that we’ve been experiencing it together. Okay, people, no more sushi from that place down the street!
But, about our recession. Did you catch the news that the unemployment numbers weren’t as desperately bad as predicted? These are the types of statistics examined by gimlet-eyed economists, whom I’m afraid function in much the same way (just different, more electrified tools) as witch doctors and soothsayers.
Consider the employment numbers as so much chicken entrails.
[*His lips are moving.]
Allison Kilkenny, a clever political blogger, gives it to us straight, in The Huffington Post.
The Dummies’ Guide to Stupid Leaders and Misleading Numbers
Allison Kilkenny | The Huffington Post | Posted May 3, 2008 | 08:05 PM (EST)
In case you didn’t know, the loss of 20,000 American jobs in April is actually good news. You see, economists had predicted 73,000 jobs would be lost last month, so thank God we dodged that bullet, right?!
In fact, the unemployment rate fell to 5.0% from 5.1% in March. Therefore, the unemployment rate is going down!! Surely, a .1% drop in the unemployment rate means America’s determined locomotive is chugging toward the dawn of a new economic renaissance…right?
These kinds of figures can mislead citizens, particularly when delivered in sound bites by an ignorantly defiant leader. Let’s first consider the possibility that less people are losing jobs because so many people are already unemployed. People can’t lose jobs they don’t have, and I know very few people that have been laid off the same job twice. These kind of polls also rarely consider the underemployed, who are in as much danger of bankruptcy as unemployed citizens due to medical bills.
Finally, the government doesn’t count everyone who is unemployed. Only people who are actively looking for employment are considered unemployed.
Some time ago, we first quoted Benjamin Disraeli, courtesy of Mark Twain, elucidating the three types of untruths: “lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
It’s bad enough out there, without being lied to.
Let’s let Ms. Kilkenny coin a phrase:
But I know when I’m beat, so if protecting rich people is decisive action, then yes, George W. Bush is the most decisive president in the history of the United States. Call him “the Decisiver.” Tell him it’s a real word. He’ll believe you.
As she points out, “the first step of recovery is recognizing that there’s a problem.”
Do you know that we have a problem, George?
Do you have a clue how to fix it for all your citizens, not just the fortunate .05% who are your oil and banking buddies?
[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]
We need substance, we need a plan, we need the truth. Any chance that the next president can provide those?
It’s it for now. Thanks,
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