A.J. DiCintio
Cooking up a jobs report
By A.J. DiCintio
May 14, 2011

The Labor Department's April jobs report contains figures showing that applications for unemployment benefits jumped to an eight month high while the private sector added a modest 268,000 jobs.

However, despite the head-scratching nature of those statistics, the administration and its allies have responded to them with proud crowing, a 180 from that of my editor Frank Salvato (read his perceptive, common sense editorials at www.NewMediaJournal.us), who opined, "Sounds like cooked books to me."

And indeed the books are cooked; for there is something in human nature that makes it impossible for politicians to say or do anything not disfigured by some form of lie.

With that immutable truth serving as prologue, here's how the government cooks up a jobs report. (Readers, be warned, the process is downright nauseating.)

Now, if you and your neighbors were assigned the task of describing the nation's employment picture, you would first count the number of people working and the number unemployed.

Then, you would compare the results with those published previously, being thoroughly clear and detailed about the nature of the jobs being created and lost as well as meticulously careful to base any conclusions you draw or predictions you make upon an honest collection of facts.

A straightforward task, right?

Well, not when politicians get their hands on it.

First, consider that to arrive at the number of Americans out of work, the government does not count people who have given up looking for a job.

Presumably, then, by a system of logic that makes sense only in Alice's Wonderland, such citizens are employed — which is exactly what the power-mad yahoos called politicians want the public to believe.

To understand the significance of this abomination, consider the Washington Post's finding that since late '08, the number of "Discouraged Workers" — Ah, the innate talent politicians have for cooking up revolting euphemisms — has grown to 6.4 million, an astounding 72% of the 8.8 million workers who lost their jobs in the recession.

How easy, then, for the government to spice up its employment numbers by subtracting an appropriate number of "discouraged" Americans from the total workforce each month.

But the Obama administration found that vile tactic insufficient for its purposes, so it invented the notion of "saving" jobs, a concept that permits it to pull virtual jobs out of thin air and increase the debt to "save" public jobs, of course, only for workers represented by a favored public employee union.

Moreover, according to propublica.org, in the case of "stimulus" spending, the administration counts jobs as "saved" even if workers would never have lost them.

And in a diabolically perverse act sure to turn the stomach of every decent American, it counts a pay raise made possible by stimulus money as a fraction of a job.

No wonder a disgusted blogger at McAuley's World revealed himself as kin to Frank Salvato when he reacted to Obama's job manipulations by asking, "Do I smell something burning...shouldn't someone stop cooking the numbers. . .?"

In addition to the contemptible behaviors just mentioned, the administration is devoted to lying every possible lie of omission in order to hide crucially important but very unpleasant truths about the nation's job picture.

That's why the "I hope always to put politics first" president surrounded himself with admiring advisers in a blossoming White House garden to call the April numbers "particularly heartening," without uttering a word about the fact that of the 268,000 private sector jobs added last month, 103,100 were in retail, leisure, and hospitality.

Nor did he mention that only 11% of the jobs created (29,000) were in the manufacturing sector.

Yes, Obama the Orator shrank to Obama the Church Mouse regarding the critically important fact that the great bulk of job creation in this country is coming from the fast food and other low paying retail industries, a metamorphosis that marks him as false, cowardly, and expedient, actually, quintessentially so, considering his love of giving lofty sounding but airy speeches about the notion that if the U.S. is to compete in the modern world economy, it must produce huge numbers of well-educated college graduates and highly skilled technical workers.

Of course, the self-anointed "change agent" had to keep mum about the kind of jobs being produced by the American economy; for if he hadn't, he would have increased the public's expectations for brave, honest, truly innovative thinking with respect to other job facts and issues.

Then, he'd have to discuss the reality that since the economy must add 200,000 jobs monthly just to keep pace with a growing workforce, the 230,000 average rate of job growth during the past few months means it will take a little over 24 years to recover the jobs lost in the recent recession.

He'd also have to speak honestly with citizens of this country, especially Ohioans, about a recent study by professors at U Mass (yahoo.com) showing that since the mid-1980's, outsourcing has been one of the two major reasons for "jobless recoveries" — even as the nation's "free" trading economy has grown and provided more wealth for the wealthy.

(The second factor, according to the study, lies in the fact that between 1995 and 2009 the FIRE industries — finance, insurance and real estate, which "don't generate many jobs in relation to their contribution to growth" — accounted for more than 25% of U.S. GDP growth.)

Finally, he'd have to explain to American workers why it's a very good thing that their average hourly wage has risen only 3 cents during the past three months while they are being smacked hard by price inflation caused by Barack and Ben's Mad Money Printing Machine, another supposed solution to the problem of creating economic growth and good jobs that is serving only to make the rich richer (think big-time holders of and traders in equities, commodities, and currencies).

There is much more to add to this discussion, especially regarding Washington's abject indifference to how an insidiously degrading jobs picture is weakening America's middle class, an indispensible pillar of a stable democracy.

But what has been presented, combined with the realities of what it means to be a politician cast from the Chicago Political Machine's mold, is sufficient to explain why this titanically ironic president constantly speaks in useless generalities about having made job growth his top priority.

Why his court jesterish vice-president serves up rancid baloney to wildly approving, deep-pocketed partisans at political fundraisers, as he did a year ago when he predicted the economy would soon be creating 500,000 jobs per month.

And why, when we are confronted with a federal government jobs report, we must never forget it has been cooked up by one or more of the unspeakably hideous caste of humans Jonathan Swift brilliantly described as never telling a truth "but with an intent that you should take it for a lie" and never telling a lie "but with a design that you should take it for a truth."

© A.J. DiCintio


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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A.J. DiCintio

A.J. DiCintio posts regularly at RenewAmerica and YourNews.com. He first exercised his polemical skills arguing with friends on the street corners of the working class neighborhood where he grew up. Retired from teaching, he now applies those skills, somewhat honed and polished by experience, to social/political affairs.


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