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Archive for Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Opinion: A fact is a fact, regardless of ideology

October 10, 2012

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“Reality,” Stephen Colbert once famously said, “has a well-known liberal bias.”

It was one of those jokes that isn’t, one of those barbs that captures something painfully true, allows you to see it with clarity you never could if viewing straight on. It’s worth noting that Colbert said this years before that jump-the-shark moment last week when conservatives accused the Labor Department of conspiring against them. In case you missed it, it happened when the government released figures showing the unemployment rate has tumbled to 7.8 percent.

Most of us considered this good news. Because it validates President Obama’s narrative of a slowly improving economy, many conservatives did not. They called the figure a fraud — “monkey business,” in the words of Donald Trump. Former GE CEO Jack Welch saw it as evidence of malfeasance from “these Chicago guys.” Fox “News” asked, “Is the number real?”

And so it goes in the conservative War on Reality.

Not that this was the first salvo in said war. Just before the numbers came out, conservatives were working to discredit polls that showed President Obama leading Mitt Romney. “Bogus,” said Rush Limbaugh.

You see, the war goes back a ways. Back to Sen. Jon Kyl saying that 97 percent of Planned Parenthood’s activities are abortion-related and, when called on that lie, issuing a statement that what he said was “not intended to be .?.?. factual.” Back to Sarah Palin sounding the alarm about death panels, back to Glenn Beck saying conservatives started the Civil Rights Movement, back to people pretending there is some mystery over the president’s birthplace.

Heck, it goes back to the Bush administration cutting inconvenient facts from government reports, back to Bush brushing aside a pessimistic report on Iraq by saying the intelligence community was “just guessing.”

The point here — this cannot be overemphasized — is not ideology. Rather, it is about the fact that we cannot effectively debate ideology if we do not have a body of facts in common.

Under such circumstances, political discourse must devolve into incoherence. We cannot discuss what color to paint the room if we cannot agree on what constitutes red or green — or the room. We literally have no shared language with which to even have the discussion.

This is the legacy of the War on Reality. Some of us live under a new ethos, fueled and abetted by Fox, the Internet and talk radio, which holds that facts are optional and reality, multiple choice — and that anyone who questions this is part of the conspiracy against you. The results have not been pretty. When, in the history of American political discourse, have conservatives — some, not all — seemed more paranoid, put-upon and ready to believe themselves the victims of outlandish plots?

Hillary Clinton was rightly derided for saying a “vast right-wing conspiracy” was out to get her husband. But if that one-time utterance made her sound ridiculous, what shall we make of this constant drumbeat from the political right? What shall we make of a mindset in which the answer to every criticism, the response to every unwelcome fact, is to point to a conspiracy of bias that exists mostly in their minds?

Now, we reach a sobering watershed. Who knew even the professional numbers crunchers in the Labor Department were part of this vast left-wing conspiracy?

Hearing that, one must believe one of two things: Either math also has a liberal bias, or, it is time to ask ourselves what becomes of a country where problem-solving is paralyzed because problem solvers cannot agree on a common reality?

Math, should it need saying, has no liberal bias. So give that question some hard thought. After all, we have only the one country. We may not share the same reality, but we will certainly share the same fate.

Leonard Pitts Jr., winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, is a columnist for the Miami Herald.

Comments

Liberty275 2 years, 2 months ago

"Opinion: A fact is a fact"

That pretty much sums it up right there.

lunatic 2 years, 2 months ago

Fact: 114,000 jobs created. Result .3% reduction in unemployment rate. Math; 114,000 /.003 = 38,000,000. By that math, there are only 38million people in the workforce. Go figure.....

Flap Doodle 2 years, 2 months ago

Do you think Das Pittster ever rolls his eyes when he gets his talking point for the week?

jhawkinsf 2 years, 2 months ago

Even facts must be put into context. Otherwise, they are just as likely to mislead than they are to enlighten.

jafs 2 years, 2 months ago

That's tricky - of course they have to be understood in context.

But, on the other hand, "putting them into context" often seems to mean imposing one's bias and spin on them, which is distortion.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 2 months ago

In context might have to include a wide variety of sources with a wide variety of perspectives.

If I say 1+1=2, we don't need a great deal of discussion, as there would be almost universal agreement. The more complex the issue; political, social, etc., then just throwing out a fact would need much greater discussion before it's validity and usefulness could be determined. My bias would need to be balanced by your bias, and his, hers and theirs.

jafs 2 years, 2 months ago

Maybe.

In my experience, that results in some facts overlaid by a variety of distortions, and isn't that helpful.

tbaker 2 years, 2 months ago

In other math-related news;

From Andrew Sullivan:

Before the debate, Obama had a 51 - 43 lead; now, Romney has a 49 - 45 lead. That's a simply unprecedented reversal for a candidate in October. Before Obama had leads on every policy issue and personal characteristic; now Romney leads in almost all of them. Obama's performance gave Romney a 12 point swing! I repeat: a 12 point swing.

http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.c...

beatrice 2 years, 2 months ago

I love that some will say the Labor Department lied because the slow and steady dip in employment numbers that has been happening over the last couple of years continues to show a slow and steady dip in unemployment, but as soon as they see a poll they like -- now those are numbers that are accurate!

Other polls show Romney's gain as slight, with Obama holding on to a lead, especially in the all important electoral college. However, tb, don't bother looking at those polls. You will just argue that the numbers have been cooked.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 2 months ago

Pitts is, as usual, nails it.

We can argue about whether the formula measuring the number of unemployed is skewed because it doesn't include those who are underemployed, or who have just given up looking for work. But as an apples to apples comparison, the unemployment rate as currently measured did go down, and that is good news-- or, more accurately, it's better than remaining the same or increasing.

That said, no matter who wins this election, unemployment (officially counted and otherwise) will likely not go down very much. Our economy is just not structured to give a crap about putting the unemployed to work-- it's geared toward the quarterly profits that Wall Street obsesses over, and that redistribute ever more wealth to the 0.1%. Neither Romney nor Obama will change that, although Romney is pretty much guaranteed to accelerate that process and increase unemployment, while Obama is likely to do no better than maintain the status quo.

jafs 2 years, 2 months ago

It's not, but it wouldn't be regardless of political affiliation, and folks don't seem to apply that evenly across the board.

tbaker 2 years, 2 months ago

“Our economy is just not structured to give a crap about putting the unemployed to work…”

You read it here first folks. I totally agree with Bozo’s statement.

People do not start businesses to “create jobs.” They start a business to create “profits” which is an extraordinarily good thing and responsible for move improvement in the human condition than anything any government ever did in the history of the world. Of course most people don’t understand basic market economics so demagogues like Bozo exploit their ignorance with this nonsense about “not caring.” Making a profit is somehow evil. Capitalism and free enterprise are unjust and have been used to oppress people everywhere. Hardly the case of course, but common folks are likely to think with their emotions after being rubbed raw by the statist demagogues who exploit them.

8th grade Econ Class: The purpose of a business is to make money. There is no obligation to hire anyone. The more money the business makes, the more the business grows, the more people you are likely to need in order to sustain that level of growth and to make even more money. Of course this is somehow a bad thing. Jobs only exist because there are businesses that need human capitol in order to produce a product or a service. In order to create jobs, we need businesses in this country. Therefore the role of government in creating jobs should essentially be to protect our rights and enforce our system of laws, which allow for businesses to operate in a free and open market, but this is getting harder to do. Stay with me Bozo.

For years, the US has topped the charts in economic freedom, but we started to slide in 2000. In just a decade, we went from #1 in the world to 18th on the list today. It is easier to start a business and create jobs in places like Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Bahrain, Mauritius, Finland and Chile – than it is in the United States.

Because of the outright hostile business environment the US government has created, American companies are sitting on billions of dollars right now. These parked dollars constitute the wealth that these businesses have accumulated through years of hard work. It wasn’t distributed to them by the government – they earned it. Ordinarily, this money would not be sitting in the driveway, but would be out there on the highway of commerce expanding those businesses, investing in new business ventures, creating new opportunities, and yes, creating jobs and growing our economy. That is not happening right now. A big part of the reason for this is the flood of new regulations from the Obama Administration, his openly hostile attitude and remarks toward business, and a strong fear this man may be reelected in November. If this happens, you can look for much of this wealth to flee this country and go to work in the 17 nations that best us in economic liberty, just look at what is happening in France right now.

2 years, 2 months ago

"Heck, it goes back to the Bush administration cutting inconvenient facts from government reports...Who knew even the professional numbers crunchers in the Labor Department were part of this vast left-wing conspiracy? "

Yup, Leonard, it's only the other side that manipulates government reports. Here's a clue - government workers present figures in the best light for their own careers - and that means making their current bosses happy. If you're willing to accept that the professionals at the Labor Department, or the State Department, or the Pentagon are willing to fudge for Bush, there is no reason to get all offended when they are accused of fudging for the new boss, who is the same as the old boss. Presidents come and go, but bureaucracy lasts forever.

This is the reason that GDP numbers, housing numbers, and yes, jobs numbers are habitually shouted from the housetops and then quietly revised downward when no one is looking. But Leonard accepts the headline numbers as true because he dearly wants them to be true, while Republicans for the most part mock them as false because they wish them to be false. In this case, the Republicans are right, just as they were wrong when Bush's administration, as Leonard will happily admit, rigged the same numbers.

And before the hoots and howls begin, yes, I did say when Bush was president that the same shenanigans took place:

"But it is the "revised down later" part that is the most misleading part of the whole government jobs reporting scheme. As the Times noted elsewhere in the original article, the current month's number, "which beat even the highest estimates, follows a downwardly revised 96,000 gain in September, which was revised down from the previous estimate of 110,000." So while the architects and benefactors of the current job growth numbers talk up those numbers, behind the scenes (and once the reporters have gone away), they quietly mark the numbers down." (Nov 5, 2007) http://elborak.blogspot.com/2007/11/department-of-truth.html

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 2 months ago

Translation-- if you don't like the numbers, declare a grand conspiracy.

2 years, 2 months ago

Sure, or you could actually watch the numbers and their revisions over the course of two decades, understand the methodology behind them, examine a few surprisingly consistent patterns, and thereby develop a healthy skepticism of all government numbers.

The Commerce Department released a report earlier in the day showing that the pace of U.S. GDP growth in the second quarter was downwardly revised to 1.3 percent compared to the previous estimate of 1.7 percent growth. -- Reuters, Sep 27

--Economy grew at 1.3% rate in second quarter, revised down from prior reading of up 1.7%.-- NASDAQ Oct 10

The latest numbers [for US factory orders ] were slightly better than the 6 per cent decline forecast by analysts. August’s fall followed a downwardly revised 2.6 per cent increase in July. - Financial Times, Oct 4

The [ADP Jobs Report] report also downwardly revised the figure for August. The data are watched for clues to the Labor Department’s September nonfarm payrolls report due on Friday. -- Marketwatch, Oct 3

The nation’s current-account balance fell to $117.4 in the second quarter from a downwardly revised $133.6 billion in the first three months of the year, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. -- Marketwatch, Sep 18.

But I don't really recommend doing all that work. Making snarky comments on the internet is so much easier and I'll bet emotionally rewarding.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 2 months ago

It's one thing to say that the formula for unemployment numbers is unrealistic (and I think that it is) or that the choice of that formula is politically motivated, but to say that the numbers are "cooked" is just not supportable by the facts. These numbers are collected by thousands of career employees in several departments in both the federal and state governments, and closely guarded (primarily because of their effects on financial markets) right up till the moment of their release. As with most conspiracy theories (Bush knew) the number of people who would have to cooperate on this one is literally in the tens of thousands, so given human nature, it would be completely impossible to conceal it if it were happening.

2 years, 2 months ago

"to say that the numbers are "cooked" is just not supportable by the facts"

But to bet that the number will be, in the near future, quietly downwardly revised is supportable by experience, both with this particular number and with most numbers produced by these "thousands of career employees." And if a number is likely to be downwardly revised, then it is not unreasonable to conclude that the number, as it stands today, is too good to be true.

2 years, 2 months ago

" Prior to that, the numbers like the jobs figures are done by surveys to businesses."

Surveys to businesses are one input. Surveys to workers are another. But a third and probably most important input is the birth/death adjustment (birth and death of comapnies, not people), which assumes the number of jobs created but not counted, based on where we believe we are in the business cycle. Twice a year these adjustments are themselves adjusted, almost always resulting in huge downward adjustments. These are jobs that are not counted, they are assumed.

But I'm not in the least bit interested in convincing anyone of a conspiracy. I'm more than happy to let the numbers speak for themselves. If you don't believe that people in government act in their own self interest, then I suspect you know very little about people.

2 years, 2 months ago

I'm not going to do all the math for you, as these numbers are not only easily accessible, they are already known to anyone who follows the numbers, even from a distance.

However, here they are from April of last year, in thousands of new jobs assumed. I'll bet that you'll be able to guess in which two months "seasonal adjustments" are made: Apr '11 (1179) May (649) June (451) July (-1302) Aug(240) Sep (697) Oct (895) Nov (302) Dec (-207) Jan'12 (-2668 ) Feb(13) Mar(871) Apr(864) May (778) Jun (334) July(-1204) Aug(370(p)) Sep(574(p))

http://www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cesbd.htm

You can bet, based on recent revisions, that January's job number will wipe out most of the gain of the last half of the year, just like it did last year. No tinfoil hat necessary.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 2 months ago

These are estimates, not concrete facts. And they are snapshots that don't always capture the movement that's happening one way or another.

Will you still be complaining if the unemployment rate goes up in the next estimate, which comes out the Friday before the election?

http://phys.org/news/2012-10-job-figures-unusual-unprecedented-economist.html

2 years, 2 months ago

I don't believe the unemployment number represents anything truly meaningful, nor do I care who wins the election. So no, whether this number goes up 2 or 3 tenths of a point before being adjusted or whether it goes down 2 or 3 tenths of a point before being adjusted makes no difference to me whatsoever.

So long as no one calls it a fact.

Michael Pinegar 2 years, 2 months ago

Please! Bush is gone and Obama killed Osama !

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 2 months ago

But it's also quite possible that the suppositions that they made are wrong in the opposite direction-- that the unemployment rate is actually lower than the 7.8% that they released. And there is no factual basis for saying that the choice of that number is politically driven.

2 years, 2 months ago

How much proof of my derision of Bush's numbers would you like?

"Hmm... hard to believe that a "headline" economic number was overinflated by a factor of three, then quietly* revised away when it seemed no one was looking. The article also notes that there is now reason to believe that last month's job creation number (which is as phony as a Federal Reserve Note anyway) will also be revised downward, maybe by the same 2/3 factor. If they tripled nominal inflation we might be getting somewhere." (Dec 2, 2007) http://elborak.blogspot.com/2007/12/color-me-so-surprised.html

It's not really news that Bush's budget numbers are fake, just like nearly every other number issued by the administration, yet the press dutifully reported that this year's fake numbers are better than last year's fake numbers. However, the press uniformly missed the important number, which omission is not all that surprising I suppose. (Dec 20, 2006) -- http://elborak.blogspot.com/2006/12/somehow-i-doubt-congress-will-read-to.html

I derided Bush's numbers for the same reason I deride Obama's. The best part is, in a number of cases (like the same incompetent Fed Chairman ) I get to deride exactly the same people.

2 years, 2 months ago

If you would like to see the article that caused my derision, here it is:

The American economy appears to have created far fewer jobs this spring than has been reported so far, a new government report indicated yesterday. That could provide further impetus for the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates when it meets Dec. 11.

The report included a sharp downward revision of the government’s estimate of personal income growth for the second quarter. Because the changes were made as soon as better employment figures were available, the revisions made it seem[s] likely that figures on job creation are also likely to be revised downward in coming months.

The new report concluded that personal income from wages and salaries grew at an annual rate of 1.6 percent in the second quarter, far below the 4.5 percent that had previously been estimated.

The government did not explain why the revision was made... -- NY Times, Dec 1, 2007 http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/01/business/01spend.html?_r=2&ref=business&oref=slogin&

You might note a pattern - very good numbers revised downward months and months later. they are usually marked downward by 40% (e.g. from 1.7% growth to 1.3%) But in the case of this particular number, the growth was revised downward by 2/3. One only needs to watch such numbers for a few years to cultivate a healthy distrust in them. And, I might add, in the people who try to promote a particular candidate (of either party) on the basis of numbers that will certainly change, and usually not for the better.

Topple 2 years, 2 months ago

I enjoyed the article, but tend to agree with Bill Hoyt. I see this large drop in unemployment as puffery that will be revised down later after it's already vindicated Obama's economic strategies and swung votes in his favor.

I think it's ridiculous that we can't have a debate over strategy, but instead must listen to each candidate make claims about what's true and what isn't.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 2 months ago

Like I said in the post above, we can argue about how meaningful the method of classifying the unemployed is, but declaring a grand conspiracy over this particular number is pure paranoia.

beatrice 2 years, 2 months ago

However, it really isn't that large of a dip, it is consistent with previous months decline, and is a reflection of the continued downward trend in unemployment.

Topple 2 years, 2 months ago

No, but dropping below 8% is pretty symbolic. I don't think there's some grand conspiracy, but I'm not going to be surprised if/when they revise down the estimate.

Michael Pinegar 2 years, 2 months ago

Utopia. That's all they want. Nobody has to work and momma government will let them suckle till their eyes roll up. Ahhh Utopia

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 2 months ago

The Romney campaign has stated that the Obama campaign is making "truth" an election issue. 'Nuff said.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 2 months ago

The Mope's campaign seems to be betting the farm on a fuzzy puppet. How's about them apples?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 2 months ago

I haven't looked at your link, but there have been numerous analyses (by non-partisan analysts) that have shown that without the stimulus, the recession would have worsened, and unemployment could have easily gone up by a couple of points.

Which analysis do you choose to believe, and why?

And do you really believe that Romney's policies will do the average person any good, or will they just funnel more money to his fellow plutocrats?

George Lippencott 2 years, 2 months ago

Facts do not have ideologically bias. This article does. There is only one instance of a liberal misrepresentation (poor Hillary). All the other examples are of conservatives. Now it was Mr. Welch who argued that the books were cooked on the latest unemployment figures. He is not the conservative world. Today he presented his opinion as to what his comment was about in the WSJ.

I could observe that the 47% issue is based on fact. Annually 47% of us pay no federal income taxes regardless of the reason why or what might happen next year. There was no spontaneous demonstration in Libya caused by a poorly scripted movie but a planned attacked by a well coordinated and led group of what we today call terrorists. That is a fact despite a week of denial form the White House.

Seems to me as if we are unable to identify a fact if it does not fit our ideological beliefs. Lying is as noted a very poor way to run a campaign. I would opine that calling the other guy a liar because we do not like his presentation of a fact is just as poor a way to run a campaign. This later approach (noted in a letter elsewhere in this space) seems to be missing from Mr. Pitt’s musings.

John Hamm 2 years, 2 months ago

Lies, damned lies and statistics. "What do you want the result to be?"

scaramouchepart2 2 years, 2 months ago

The problem is, no matter what either side says, it takes more than 4 years to clean up 12 years of cutting the people out of government and allowing that 10% cronyism to control. No matter how hard the conservatives try to blame Obama for the economic downturn, it was under a conservative president who started a war to save his father's face. Afghanistan, maybe, I say yes. Iraq for better reasons then given. Bush senior lost his second bid for office because he did not go after Sadam. So Bush 2 came up with some lame reason to save his father's face. It helped that oil was a big by product of the war. So his VP could rake in the money from the conquest. Sadam needed to go for the protection and lives of the people he and his boys abused. Unfortunately our 10%ers never do the right thing for the right reason. If there was no oil or daddy to defend, we would never have troubled. As for the economy. Clinton's administration had a chance to stop it in 1992, when Brooksley Born warned them about derivatives. Cronyism is strong in both parties. If the people want to stop all the things they complain about, they need to take back their own government. VOTE! According to Romney 47% of this country is nothing but lazy worthless slugs who do not give enough in taxes to support corporate greed. If that 47%, that which is old enough to vote, voted there would be a change.

George Lippencott 2 years, 2 months ago

If you believe the people were cut out. Perhaps a different group of people were driving the train?? There are tens of millions of voters. Millions of people must have voted for Mr. Bush. Or was it all a bad movie?

tbaker 2 years, 2 months ago

Oil was a big byproduct of the war in Iraq? Do tell. How many barrels to we import from there?

Romney didn’t say people were lazy slugs. He said those who receive government handouts are not very likely for vote for someone who promises to cut them.

Demagoguery is not a substitute for critically reasoned thought. Wise up shill.

2 years, 2 months ago

" Bush senior lost his second bid for office because he did not go after Sadam."

@LOL. The actual fact is that GHW Bush had an 88% approval rating in March of 1991, the month after the end of the Gulf War: http://webapps.ropercenter.uconn.edu/CFIDE/roper/presidential/webroot/presidential_rating_detail.cfm?allRate=True&presidentName=Bush%20%28G.H.W.%29

Even CBS news is not amnesiac enough to fall into such historical revisionism: "George H.W. Bush received an 88 percent approval rating in 1991 amid the success of the first Gulf War." http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-500160_162-4728399.html

Bush senior lost for a number of reasons, but exactly zero of them were that "he did not go after Saddam."

But don't worry, Don Pardo will be along any moment to tell you about our consolation prizes. Maybe you'll get a copy of the Your Own Facts home game.

2 years, 2 months ago

Bozo: "These are estimates, not concrete facts. "

Yes, yes, yes a hundred times yes. These are estimates, and any government number that contains an estimate as one of its major components is an estimate, not a fact. So, we are right back to our friend Leonard, who used this number as a "fact" in his argument of a war on facts by his political opponents. But it's not a fact, it's at best an estimate and at worst one that will change significantly.

But perhaps more importantly, I note that both you and markoo have use the word "conspiracy" several times, though I believe yours was a grand conspiracy. It need not be. One does not need to postulate, for example, a conspiracy among millions of fisherman (or male online dating hopefuls) to conclude that they tend to estimate size to their own advantage. It's just a tendency though a very human one. There is really nothing untoward about postulating that Rosy Scenario works in every administration, rather than just the ones Mr. Pitts doesn't like. All of us, when able to choose from among several justifiable numbers, will choose the one that makes us look best. Or makes our boss happy.

markoo: "How exactly did that number "wipe" out the gain in 2011 again? I'm afraid I'm a little confused..."

When the model eliminates 2,000,000 jobs in a single adjustment, it wipes out 2,000,000 jobs that had been assumed in prior months. There are 524k jobs in this month's survey that are assumed, and if we have another 1m or 2m adjusted out in January, they will disappear.

BLS is correct - there is not a 1-1 correlation between B/D job estimates and total jobs.You can't just add or subtract the jobs, because some measurements are seasonally adjusted and some not. But there is a 1-1 correlation between B/D jobs between one month and another. A 2,000,000 B/D adjustment does not wipe out 2,000,000 real jobs, but it does wipe out the effects of the 2,000,000 estimated jobs in the total numbers. It tends to make the total number of jobs drop and the retroactive unemployment rate rise.

BLS does not share its methodology, so it's impossible to say exactly how one can exclude birth/death numbers. But they are significant, because the monthly change in jobs added is generally on the order of 100k to 150k jobs, while the B/D adjustment (up or down) is often in excess of three times that number.

But it's important to remember that backward adjustments are changing history. If in Oct 2012 unemployment in 7.8%, a year from now, when the numbers are adjusted, they will say 7.6% or 7.9% or something different. Experience says that it will most likely be adjusted upward, FWIW.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 2 months ago

The "fact" is that the estimate was 7.8%, and that it was not some grand conspiracy that produced that number.

"If in Oct 2012 unemployment in 7.8%, a year from now, when the numbers are adjusted, they will say 7.6% or 7.9% or something different."

But it will almost certainly not say that the rate was 8.8%, or even 8.1%. And no matter what the numbers for this year that come out a year from now are, they will almost certainly show a drop in unemployment between this month and last month.

Bottomline-- the best information available says that there has been a slow decline in unemployment since the bottom fell out of the economy under Bush's watch and that decline continues. Whether that decline is steep enough to justify Obama's retention in office is a whole nother matter.

2 years, 2 months ago

"The "fact" is that the estimate was 7.8%"

LOL, I saw what you did there. No one, especially those who gagged on the number, denied the "fact" that the estimate was 7.8%. They denied that the reality was 7.8%. Perhaps Leonard and his cohort should insist that his political opponents have declared war on estimates.

But we have come a long way, have we not, since the days when this "estimate" was "numbers ... collected by thousands of career employees in several departments in both the federal and state governments, and closely guarded (primarily because of their effects on financial markets) right up till the moment of their release."

Ah, those were the days, my friend.

booyalab 2 years, 2 months ago

How about the fact that the month before, the labor force participation rate was the lowest it had been since 1981. Then suddenly, a month later, unemployment was the lowest it had been since 1983, even though employers added FEWER jobs than it would take for the rate to even stay the same.

tomatogrower 2 years, 2 months ago

Facts according to my Tea Party friends and relatives: If they sell their home they will have to pay a sales tax, because of something in the Affordable Care Act. There are death panels in the Affordable Care Act. Obama gives away smart phones with unlimited texting to poor people. Obama is a Muslim. The ACLU has filed a lawsuit to ban crosses in military cemeteries. Obama has enacted several laws banning guns. Obama sets the price of gas. Only gay people are child molesters. Children raised by gay people will be gay. The moon landing in '69 was faked.

All of these are factually wrong, but they still "believe" it, because the read it on Facebook or in an email. It must be true!!!

George Lippencott 2 years, 2 months ago

I though everything on the internet was true.

I could run down a similar list of liberal concerns that have little or no basis in fact but which are deeply held - probably for the same reasons. What is it - a third of us believe in ghosts??

2 years, 2 months ago

Sure, it's a fact that most people hold at least one opinion that is incorrect, laughable, ignorant. After all, someone must be buying all those mags in the checkout line. But the point is that all her Tea-Party relatives are stooooooopid and how can anyone be so stooooooopid? (snort, giggle) People who disagree with her and her ultra-modern, sophisticated opinions are stoooooopid and need not be taken seriously.

Just look at this stooooopid Tea Partier. She probably thinks she has unlimited texting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpAOwJ...

Trumbull 2 years, 2 months ago

At face value it appears the Republicans want to deny any bit of good news because it is not good for their re-election(s). There is much truth to the "We don't have anything to fear, but fear itself" statement". In the world of economics, much of which is behavioral based, fear and uncertainty about the economy prolong recessions, good news and optimism spur recovery. Un-knowingly or perhaps maliciously, the R's are not helping.

beatrice 2 years, 2 months ago

um ... let us revisit this on Nov. 7, shall we.

George Lippencott 2 years, 2 months ago

Hey Bea - it might be on its way to the SCUS

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