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“God Must Be A Kenyan”: Hey Conspiracy Theorists, It’s Showtime!

I assume that several of our house conservatives have been sitting around this morning waiting for this post on the new BLS data so they can trot out their conspiracy theories or note that the “real” unemployment rate is 11 percent. So, go have fun.

I think it’s a little sad to see people so openly rooting against America and against people finding work. That much-discussed Jack Welch tweet was an abomination. As TNR’s Alec MacGillis tweeted back, it’s always nice to see a leading figure of American commerce cheer against his country and its economy. And “BLS cooked-the-numbers” theories are just silly. This monthly gathering of data is a massive job that goes on all month long involving thousands of people and inputs.

The great news about this report and the new jobless rate of 7.8 percent, down below 8 for the first time since Obama took office (how’s that for a stump-speech line?), is that it happened for the right reason: The labor force grew, meaning that more people are out there looking for work, which is a contrast to some previous months when the rate fell because the labor-force participation rate decreased. And the revisions to the last two months, adding 86,000 jobs, is especially heartening.

In substantive terms, it is certainly true that the participation rate is lower than it was in January 2009 by a couple percentage points. And it’s also true that 114,000, the new number, isn’t enough to keep up with the growth in the size of the labor force. So substantively, it’s not a great number.

But we’re in the home stretch of a presidential campaign. So politically, the number is really good for Obama. Just what he needed. God must be a Kenyan.


By: Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast, October 5, 2012

October 6, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Jobs Report Truthers Return”: Anytime There Are Positive Jobs Numbers, Conservatives Cry Conspiracy

Today’s jobs report, showing the unemployment rate dropped below 8 percent for the first time in over 40 moths, will have Democrats gleeful and Republicans (deep in their hearts) despondent. But what if the numbers are actually just a part of a plot to get President Obama reelected? It’s a stupid question, but the immediate reaction of many conservative media figures has been not only to ask it, but to answer it as well.

On Fox News, which completely ignored the numbers for the first 30 minutes they were out in favor of stories about (what else?) gold and a live performance by 12-year-old Jackie Evancho, host Bill Hemer darkly warned, as he summarized the report, “a lot of questions remain about those numbers.” Co-host Martha MacCallum agreed that the report “raises a lot questions.” Finally, they brought on Fox Business analyst Stuart Varney to give it to us straight: “There is widespread mistrust of this report and these numbers, because there are clear contradictions.” Varney explained that many of the jobs created are part-time, and that there were discrepancies between the two surveys that make up the report (one looks at jobs added and the other calculates the unemployment rate).

“Oh how convenient that the rate drops below 8 percent for the first time in 43 months five weeks before an election! That’s why there’s some mistrust of these numbers,” Varney continued. And while questioning the numbers produced by the economists at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Varney approvingly cited statistics from Mitt Romney’s stump speech, saying the 23 million underemployed figure Romney often invokes shows the jobs situation is “grim.”

Just a month ago, Varney didn’t question the validity of the previous jobs report. “OK, I say this is a flat-out bad report on the state of the economy. America simply is not at work,” Varney said in one of two quotes that landed on a GOP tipsheet. But in his defense, that report did show bad news for Obama while the new one is likely good news for the president, so he’s just doing his job.

And Varney wasn’t alone. As Salon’s Andrew Leonard noted this morning, former GE CEO and frequent Obama critic Jack Welch was quick on the draw too, tweeting, “Unbelievable jobs numbers .. these Chicago guys will do anything .. can’t debate so change numbers.” There were other theories too. Conn Carroll, a senior writer at the conservative Washington Examiner, thinks the conspiracy goes far beyond the BLS. “I don’t think BLS cooked numbers. I think a bunch of Dems lied about getting jobs. That would have same effect,” he tweeted. Eric Bolling, another Fox News host, tweeted, “WOW Obama Labor Dept (7.8%) smarter than all 25 of Americas top Economists (8.2%est).. or something far more insideous [sic].” Bob Metcalfe, a conservative academic, added, “Who’da thought Obama’s Labor Department, as their October Surprise, would report the highest one-month ‘employment’ jump in 29 years?” Sonny Bunch, the managing editor of the Washington Free Beacon, tweeted — we assume facetiously — “THEORY: George Soros hired 500k part-time hole-diggers/hole-filler-inners to artificially depress unemployment rate.”

All this fits into a long, dark tradition of questioning BLS data. President Nixon even sent a top aide to make a list of all the people he suspected were Jews in the agencies because he believed they were tweaking economics forecasts to make the president look bad.


By: Alex Seitz-Wald, Salon, October 5, 2012

October 6, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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