Thursday, July 12, 2012

Obama Isn't Cooking The Books

So, I was just poking around the internet and started to get interested in saying something about this. During this election cycle, we hear an earful from the GOP about how the unemployment rate is "actually much higher than the 8.2% number that the government reports". In one of Mitt Romney's latest appearances, he said that "the true number... is probably 15 percent".

Now, we can argue until the end of time about what is the best way to compute this, and other, statistics. What I have an issue with is the seeming implication of many in the GOP, leading to belief by many Americans unable to think for themselves, that President Obama is somehow manipulating the unemployment numbers to appear more favorable for himself. The fact is that Obama is using the same numbers that have been calculated for decades, and the last major change of any kind that would affect the statistic came in 1994, when the questionnaire was last significantly changed.

There are multiple measures of unemployment, which has conveniently explained in this article. President Obama is doing nothing wrong or different by reporting the U-3 number; it's the same number the last President Bush reported as well. And back then, I don't recall Republican congressmen saying that it was important to change the way unemployment is calculated, as has seemingly become so important to them in this election cycle.

Even so, it is noteworthy that while the GOP touts that states with Republican governors are doing better with unemployment, they use the U-3 number to do so, which is the same number they criticize the President for reporting.

So much hypocrisy... though I'd be lying if I said I were surprised at this point.

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