Phony Numbers, Phony Recovery, Phony President
October 15, 2012 by Bob Livingston
Mark Twain once wrote, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” The phony jobs numbers issued last week and used by the phony President to tout a phony recovery are typical of the lies, damned lies and statistics spouted out daily by the political elites.
The elites walking the halls of power — the true 1 percent — are greedy and murderous psychopaths. They care nothing for their “subjects” and seek only more power, more money and more aggrandizement. They readily lie, cheat, steal and kill to achieve their goals.
The 7.8 percent unemployment number is a manipulated and meaningless figure. The Bureau of Labor Statistics cooks the books each month by using data it terms as “seasonally adjusted.” But this adjustment changes from month to month, and the BLS will not disclose what the adjustments are or how they are arrived at. It also does not tell the public that those factors change month to month.
John Williams at Shadowstats.com explains: “[T]he BLS knowingly has been preparing the seasonally-adjusted headline unemployment numbers on an inconsistent and non-comparable basis for some time. The September number was prepared using a different set of season factors than was used in coming up with the August number. The reporting difference can be large, when proper consistent month-to-month changes are used.”
In addition to applying nebulous and ever-changing seasonal adjustments, the numbers are based in part on information compiled by census workers conducting telephone surveys and home visits. They take monthly samples of 50,000 to 60,000 households in 31 States and the District of Columbia. Their criteria are ambiguous. For instance, the range for part-time work falls between one hour and 34 hours per week. “So if an out-of-work accountant tells a census worker, ‘I got one baby-sitting job this week just to cover my kid’s bus fare, but I haven’t been able to find anything else,’ this can be considered a part-time job,” writes Jack Welch in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal.
Because of the subjective and open-ended nature of some responses, the opportunity for data manipulation is legion. There is also a motive for data manipulation. Government workers conducting these tests and compiling the data are members of the American Federation of Government Employees, which is part of the AFL-CIO. Unions are in the tank for the Democratic Party in general and President Barack Obama in particular.
Welch came under fire last week after he tweeted that he was skeptical of the sudden three-tenths of 1 percent drop in unemployment on the heels of Obama’s dismal debate performance.
As an aside, that debate revealed what I and many others have known for some time: Obama is a phony. He’s an empty suit (or chair) without the capacity for intelligent discussion beyond standard rote Marxist talking points, unless one of his masters has a hand up the back of his shirt in the form of a teleprompter. He has demonstrated this time and again through his choice of softball and heavily scripted interviews and the way he has responded as a petulant child to what few challenges he has received from the rare tough interviewer or the occasional Republican politician.
One of Welch’s critics last week was Austan Goolsbee, former chairman of the Obama regime’s Council of Economic Advisers. Demonstrating that, for the elites, history begins today and yesterday is irrelevant, Goolsbee conveniently forgets that just nine years ago he accused the George W. Bush Administration of cooking up phony unemployment numbers. In an op-ed piece for The New York Times published Nov. 30, 2003, Goolsbee wrote:
The government reported that annual unemployment during this recession peaked at only around 6 percent, compared with more than 7 percent in 1992 and more than 9 percent in 1982. But the unemployment rate has been low only because government programs, especially Social Security disability, have effectively been buying people off the unemployment rolls and reclassifying them as “not in the labor force.”
In other words, the government has cooked the books. It has been a more subtle manipulation than the one during the Ronald Reagan Administration, when people serving in the military were reclassified from “not in the labor force” to “employed” in order to reduce the unemployment rate. Nonetheless, the impact has been the same.
Under Obama, disability roles have risen in excess of 3.6 million since 2008, meaning Obama is using the same method of concealing true unemployment as the hated Bush.
According to Shadowstats, data manipulation has its roots in the Richard Nixon Administration. Williams writes that Nixon proposed that the BLS release each month one unemployment number — the one that was most favorable to the Administration — but not reveal whether it was the seasonally adjusted or unadjusted number. While there is no evidence this tactic was ever used, it demonstrates the mindset in Washington.
Even if one takes the official 7.8 percent number and BLS statistics at face value, they’re still nothing to crow about. Besides, the 7.8 percent number will not remain static. The BLS revises the data regularly and won’t issue a final number for the month until January, long after the election and when the September number is no longer relevant. The September number could change four or five times before January.
According to the BLS, total nonfarm payroll employment increased by only 114,000 in September. That’s not enough to keep up with population growth. It’s also 32,000 fewer jobs than the monthly average for this year, and 39,000 fewer jobs than the monthly average in 2011. Manufacturing jobs declined by 16,000 and overall have been unchanged since April. Yet we are to believe unemployment dropped?
The number of people employed part-time for economic reasons (that is they took part-time work because their hours were cut back or it was the only work available to them) rose from 8 million to 8.6 million. Another 802,000 dropped from the labor force and weren’t counted in the jobless data, and they became part of the 2.5 million considered marginally attached to the labor force because they “wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.”
Despite the rah-rah chanting of Obamaphiles, the truth is the number of people employed is near where it was in 2000 and well below where it was at its 2007 pre-recession peak. Actual unemployment, according to Shadowstats, exceeds 22 percent.
The Feds are likewise manipulating the inflation data. Called the Consumer Price Index (CPI), it is a measure of inflation based on the cost of a basket of goods. But the contents of the basket changes from time to time. Politicians like this because it is used to determine, among other things, the annual cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security. By manipulating the contents of the basket of goods, rising inflation can be masked and Social Security adjustments can be kept artificially low.
Using pre-Bill Clinton CPI methodology (that is, methodology employed until 1990), CPI inflation in August (September numbers are due out tomorrow) was 5.6 percent. Using methodology employed in 1980, CPI inflation in August was 9.3 percent, according to Shadowstats.
This is all part of the ongoing war on American seniors and savers being waged by the psychopaths in Washington.