Free Markets, Free People

When your government lies to you

Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO of Gallup lays out one of the biggest lies our government is party to each month.

The unemployment rate.

Right now the lie claims that only 5.6% of those who want to work aren’t working.  That’s simply not true.

But it is a lie that banks on you not looking into how the government computes this number.  It banks on you using a different definition – i.e. one that defines unemployment as I have above – the unemployed are those who want work but can’t find work.

However, the government uses an entirely different set of criteria to come up with their number and ignore a  huge portion of the public which is out of work.

Clifton points out:

If you, a family member or anyone is unemployed and has subsequently given up on finding a job — if you are so hopelessly out of work that you’ve stopped looking over the past four weeks — the Department of Labor doesn’t count you as unemployed. That’s right. While you are as unemployed as one can possibly be, and tragically may never find work again, you are not counted in the figure we see relentlessly in the news — currently 5.6%. Right now, as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed.

Yet politicians and the media keep pushing that number out there without any caveat or qualifier.  They too expect you to use your definition of unemployment while they knowingly push this lie.

And, it’s even worse than that.  Here’s another way they pad that official number:

There’s another reason why the official rate is misleading. Say you’re an out-of-work engineer or healthcare worker or construction worker or retail manager: If you perform a minimum of one hour of work in a week and are paid at least $20 — maybe someone pays you to mow their lawn — you’re not officially counted as unemployed in the much-reported 5.6%. Few Americans know this.

Of course “few Americans know this”.  It’s because our government goes out of its way to avoid telling us this. The official unemployment numbers is a fantasy number with very little basis in reality.  It is aimed at serving the political resumes of our government masters.  It is designed to pretend there has been progress in the employment field.  There hasn’t.  Period.

Yet another figure of importance that doesn’t get much press: those working part time but wanting full-time work. If you have a degree in chemistry or math and are working 10 hours part time because it is all you can find — in other words, you are severely underemployed — the government doesn’t count you in the 5.6%. Few Americans know this.

None of this gets much press.   The politicians and bureaucrats glibly push this lie and the media dutifully publish it with little or no research into its efficacy.  We have the lowest labor participation rate in about 40 years meaning huge numbers of Americans remain unemployed or grossly underemployed while our political betters celebrate false employment numbers and claim things are “getting better”.  It is all about the next election instead of service to this country for them.

Clifton concludes:

I hear all the time that “unemployment is greatly reduced, but the people aren’t feeling it.” When the media, talking heads, the White House and Wall Street start reporting the truth — the percent of Americans in good jobs; jobs that are full time and real — then we will quit wondering why Americans aren’t “feeling” something that doesn’t remotely reflect the reality in their lives. And we will also quit wondering what hollowed out the middle class.

The middle class is the real victim of these horrid economic conditions.  Pretending that “all is well” on the employment front lets politicians off the hook when it comes to addressing the problems the middle class in this country are facing – like UNEMPLOYMENT!  They simply point to the lie and claim that “historically” that rate signifies “full employment” and they’re the heroes that brought it down.

When your government purposely lies to you, any trust you may have in it vanishes.  And it portends even worse problems.  If it will lie about the unemployment rate, what else will it lie about?  And what steps will it take to maintain those lies and protect those who tell them?

What was supposed to be a servant to the people is evolving quite rapidly into the people’s master.  Government wasn’t envisioned like this at all at our founding.  In fact, what we have today is anathema to what our founders envisioned.  A huge, bloated, powerful, coercive and dishonest government which seems to think it has the right to intrude at all levels of our life.   The particular lie Clifton exposes is only one of many it has pushed over the years.  And unless something is done and done quickly it will only get worse.

Maybe it is time for a convention of the states.


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32 Responses to When your government lies to you

  • If only there was a profession in this country that was tasked with getting to the bottom of stuff like this and disseminating that info….

  • We all suffer from a daily assault on reality by the Collective. Cognitive dissonance is a daily challenge for every one of us, because even the hardest-headed of us gets immersed in this shit on some level…even subconscious.

    Eric Holder assured us that “there’s been no politicization of this Justice Department” and such an accusation is “totally inconsistent with the facts.”

    One’s gob is smacked in the face of this kind of lying.

  • The general purpose of reports is to give people as accurate a picture as possible of the subject being reported on.
    So the theory goes.

    We’ve known it’s been a lie, and others besides Jim Clifton have said it.

    It’s not just Obama this lie is working for.
    There are a raft of senators and congressmen with R’s next to their name who could be hammering this lie, day after day after day, and they aren’t.
    So it’s working for the GOP Gentry too.

    • Thus the generic term “politician”.

    • It was sort of a “wtf” moment as I was typing my reply.
      For 5 years we’ve known this was a lie and all said it, and as I was typing..various thoughts which made it to the screen only to be deleted, it hit me.

      Just like the Chamber of Commerce/Republican support for illegal immigrants the only reason the Republican leadership can possibly have for not finishing up any speech with the unemployment lie equivalent of “and Carthage must be destroyed” is because they’re more or less okay with it.

      I expect Wall Street to lie, because they’re profiting from the lie, I expect Obama to lie because, well, that’s about the only thing he does that I can depend on. I foolishly still must have harbored hopes that the side I was at least loosely aligned with was not necessarily active participants in the big unemployment lie lying.

      My pointing it out was more or less a minor OMG moment for me, and anyone like me who still hasn’t admitted it, rather than a form of criticism.
      I suppose I could be generous and say it’s such a target rich environment for them when picking lies to talk about they just overlook this one, but I’m not feeling too generous these days.
      It’s a major lie that powers his popularity and enables his ongoing subsequent lies.

  • Hmm.
    Sarah Palin has been suggesting such a convention for quite a while, now

    • You REALLY want a convention where there’s even an outside chance that states like CA NY WA get to influence the outcome?

      • Speaking for myself…HELL YEAH!

        I want to either HAVE a Constitution on which all other law is predicated, or NOT, and have it clear what people want.

      • shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress

        The real problem is that there seems to be no Constitutional precedent as to how proposed amendments from such a convention would be approved. The biggest worry is that having the convention ratify by 3/4 vote a proposal approved vote by 2/3 is a scary situation, given the manner in which delegations are chosen .. which is totally undefined.

    • It only took 226 years for Congress to begin to take seriously its duty under Article V of the U.S. Constitution. Two weeks ago a new rule for the U.S. House was put into effect providing for a means to count incoming state applications for an Article V Convention to propose constitutional amendments. An astounding fact being that Congress has never officially tallied these applications before. So, the inquisitive might wonder, why now?

  • The bloated permanent government is one thing. A bad faith presidency using it as a political weapon is another. And the lying is so constant that The Onion would have a hard time keeping up with it. Bill Clinton lied even when he didn’t have to. Barack Obama would never consider telling the truth.

  • Maybe Erb will show up now and tell us how deluded Jim Clifton is and that he just doesn’t understand economics.

  • U-3 is a fantasy number. It really measures those out of work but not desperate yet.

  • And that convention of the states would be dominated by NY, CA, Chicago and all the hyper-statist metro areas.

    • How do you figure…???

      • Numbers alone, but their media/academic influence in any case, for beginners.

        Back many years ago, a very wise sage, who is unpopular with conservatives in many areas, said “A nation won’t change politically until it first changes philosophically”.

        Where do you think most Americans stand on this chart?

        (Don’t say “In the middle”, because only very few do, aside from lip-service.)

        • You can maintain the conceit (or totally correct belief…depending) you are smarter than I am.

          I don’t think you are smarter than Mark Levin.

          • “Smart” has little to do with it, so lose the attitude.

            And Mark Levin is off in his own little world.

          • Let me just add this, to make it simple:

            Right now, 50% of the public thinks Obama is doing a “good job”; where do you think a new convention would end up other than to codify the current political mess?

          • I have a wacko theory about those poll #’s.

            I wonder if data gathering is finally allowing them to focus their ‘random’ search so it isn’t nearly as random as it purports to be.
            On the surface they appear to have done what they’ve always done, and they present the mechanism they used for the survey.
            If you consider the amount of demographic data gathered for cell phone use, internet browsing, purchasing patterns, census data, etc, etc, etc…and consider how valuable that data is for predicting consumer…people….behavior.

            How hard is it to conceive that they can use gathered data to focus the target demographic and yet make it appear random?
            So…The pollsters don’t want to give out a number that is ‘Soviet’ in nature, where 99% of the voters cast their vote for Stalin, but they’re trying to pep up the base’s moral, and as they used to say in toasts “spread confusion to their enemies”, so they tweak it to get the number back up to a place where we’re wondering who they hell is still so in love with the President, all while making it look copacetic.

            Perhaps these whacko poll results are actually based on data that is massaged more than it should be even though it would appear to even an experienced observer that it was not.
            and consider that I floated the idea on a thread about the government blatantly lying to us and showing us the data they used to do it.

          • What’s the polling on “trust in government”?

            C’mon. We can bash polling forever.

          • And Mark Levin is off in his own little world.

            He’s got some really good company, and the company is growing.

            The point being, that people have considered…just as did the Founders…the effect of population concentrations with interests.

          • I have to wonder if Levin’s world is smaller than the people who believe that unemployment is really only 5.6%

            His world is certainly no crazier than, as of t0day, 50%, of those polled about Obama’s performance.
            Americans must be a very forgiving lot.

          • (Since this gadget won’t allow deeper replies, here it goes from up here)

            Yes, polls can be misleading, by design or by ignorance, yet:

            1) Polls on government power: yet look at election after election after election, the ultimate poll. Essentially, it the choice between a $4.5 trillion budget (look at how well 1995-2007 went) and a $4.3 trillion budget. Note, too, that even Tea Party types mostly want the welfare state intact as well as Social Security. Note, too, how they propose to “nibble at the corners” by cutting spending on Foreign Aid (0.03% of the budget) and Congressional salaries (a similar amount).

            2) When Mark Levin’s following goes over 0.5% of the population, wake me up!

            For all that “distrust of government”, people seem to keep leaving it intact, if not growing, election after election….okay, I repeat myself.

          • Let’s keep this honest.

            The point was NOT “Levin’s following”.

            The point was that very smart people…many of them lawyers…are aware of the influence of population concentrations, as were our Founders.

            Another point was that the Convention of States idea has growing support, and that group is, again, composed of some very smart, well-informed people who love the Constitution and its fundamental principles.

          • And yes, you can bash polling, but it needs to be recognized that for a great number of the herd animals thinking the other members of the herd are all headed in direction (x) leads them to conclude that the direction to go MUST be direction (x) even if that happens to terminate in a 1000 foot vertical drop and no chute.

  • Democrat/Progressive administrations always find the economy to be “ungovernable”, and change the statistics to support their narrative that they have saved our nation. This is from 2009, and the lie continues.
    === ===
    [edited] [2009] reports that the Clinton administration changed the way the government calculates unemployment statistics by excluding “discouraged workers,” those who had given up looking for a job because there were no jobs to be found.

    Since the Clinton years, discouraged workers looking for a job for more than one year are not counted as unemployed in any statistic because they are considered to have dropped out of the labor force.

    The BLS includes in “U6 Unemployment” short-term discouraged workers who have been looking for a job less than one year. This permits the Obama administration to under-report “U3 unemployment” at 10.2 percent when real unemployment is twice that amount when calculated before the Clinton redefinition, and U6 unemployment lies somewhere in between.
    === ===