Hey Abbott, What About Those Unemployment Numbers?
Many folks as well as TV anchor men and radio talk show hosts are using the government's figures for unemployment. Most recently, 7.3-7.4% depending on to whom you are listening. Every month, the figure is eagerly awaited by politicians, unions, and strategists. It is an important figure to them, a figure to bounce around the court of public opinion and toss around on political fields of play. A 1/10th change either way benefits one party over the other, one host over another and one TV anchor man over his competition.
Come to think of it, this figure really has nothing to do with the real unemployment in this country, but when such a statement is made, Americans are astounded. Why not, they ask. What they don't understand is how the figure is produced, but the manner and means of its production can be extremely confusing and complicated. It is meant to be in order to keep Americans in the dark.
However, some very famous persons, actors you may say, from a long time ago have figured it out so Americans can finally understand how our government can arrive at the figure every month. Abbot and Costello were fabulous in their ability to explain things. Actually, Abbott knew what he was talking about while Costello could never grasp what he was saying, but finally when Abbott explains the unemployment numbers to Costello, they both explain it very clearly.
So let's listen to their astute conversation:
COSTELLO: Hey, Abbott,I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America .
ABBOTT: Good Subject. Terrible Times. It's 7.3%.
COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?
ABBOTT: No, that's 14.7%
COSTELLOOSTELLO: BUT THEY ARE OUT OF WORK!!!
ABBOTT: No, you miss his point. COSTELLO: What point?
ABBOTT: Someone who doesn't look for work can't be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn't be fair.
COSTELLO: To whom?
ABBOTT: The unemployed.
COSTELLO: But ALL of them are out of work.
ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work. Those who are out of work gave up looking and if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.
COSTELLO: So if you're off the unemployment rolls that would count as less unemployment?
ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!
COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don't look for work?
ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That's how they get it to 7.3%. Otherwise it would be 14.7%. President Obama doesn't want you to read about 14.7% unemployment, it makes him look bad, incompetent, and makes him look like he doesn't have a clue what he is doing as President
COSTELLO: That would be tough on the Democrats running for re-election. You just said 7.3%, right
ABBOTT: 7.3% Unemployed.
COSTELLO: Right 7.8% out of work.
ABBOTT: No, that's 14.7%.
COSTELLO: Okay, so it's 14.7% unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, that's 7.3%.
COSTELLO: WAIT A MINUTE. Is it 7.3% or 14.7%?
ABBOTT: 7.3% are unemployed. 14.7% are out of work.
COSTELLO: If you are out of work, you are unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, Congress said you can't count the "Out of Work" as the unemployed, it makes President Obama's employment numbers look bad! You have to look for work to be unemployed.
COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means there are two ways to bring down the unemployment number?
ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.
COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?
COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?
COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to have people stop looking for work.
ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like a Democratic Economist.
COSTELLO: I don't even know what the hell I just said!
ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like a Congressman.
Now, see you have the answer to the unemployment numbers right in the palm of your hand, right? Yeah, clear as mud to all of us except those who are stirring the pot of numbers every month.