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Using hokey statistics to abandon jobless Americans
"It goes back to the fundamentals," intoned a Wall Street analyst, "the economy is improving."
Improving for whom? By "fundamentals," he means the high-flying stock market, booming corporate profits, and top executive pay. Those are signs of an economy that is top-heavy, not healthy. In fact, our economy is teetering dangerously, because it's not sustained from below by a strong middle class.
Economist Paul Krugman notes that, far from "improving," our economy remains in "a low-grade depression." Of course, that thermometer zooms to high-grade if you're among the millions of Americans who're jobless, working for low wages, or able to get only part-time, temporary employment. Yes, the unemployment rate has ticked down – but not because of any jump in job creation. Rather, the dismal lack of hiring has become so discouraging that many people simply give up the hunt, which magically removes them from the ranks of the unemployed.
Most congress critters clearly don't care about America's middle-class jobs depression. The White House cares, but doesn't treat it as the crisis it is, so nothing happens. The only jobs push we've had is the stop-gap effort by the Federal Reserve to pump enough money into the economy to keep unemployment from worsening.
But rather than push harder, Ben Bernanke, head of the central bank, recently sounded retreat. He, too, uses the faulty unemployment statistic as a crutch to claim "improvement" – the jobless rate, he says, could drop to seven percent next year, so the Fed's stimulus will no longer be needed.
That's shameful. Even if that was the true rate, seven percent equals 11 million unemployed Americans, and many millions more who'd still be underemployed. From Bernanke to Congress, all government officials who shrug their shoulders and give up on helping that many Americans should themselves be made jobless.
"Et Tu, Bernanke?" The New York Times, June 24, 2013.
"The Fed's Next Move," The New York Times, June 24, 2013.
"Stocks continue slide; Dow drops 353 points," Austin American Statesman, June 21, 2013.
"A Fit of Pique On Wall Street," The New York Times, June 22, 2013.