Sunday

Is Obama gaming the unemployment numbers?

With public support fading fast for Obama's aggressive liberal agenda it seems that the administration has taken to "gaming" the numbers to shore up public support.

The unemployment numbers have seemed to be improving according to the administration and while they have far surpassed their rosy projection of 8% (remember the sales pitch on the stimulus) the administration would argue that things are getting better.

The reason that things appear to be improving however has more to do with accounting tricks and slight of hand than an upswing in the economy. Tricks like overestimating jobs created to offset jobs lost and not counting "underemployed" or those who have stopped looking for jobs in the unemployed category.

Glenn Beck interviews a couple of experts in the field who can give you a little more insight into the trick of the trade. Hopefully this will at once enlighten you and frighten you. Things are much worse than they appear and much worse than Obama would have us believe.






The following is a transcript from the above video:

GLENN BECK, HOST: I told you how Obama wants to ram universal health care and cap-and-trade and everything else down our throats, because it's an emergency, we can't even think about it.

But can we stop for a second and look at mounting debt and skyrocketing unemployment? It is worse than what everybody is telling you, I believe.

Walt Zimmerman is here — he is the vice president of United I-CAP. And, Mort Zuckerman — he is the chairman and editor-in-chief of "U.S. News & World Report."

Walt, let's start with you. Let's start, look — can we look at the debt that we have. We just broke through — can we bring this up on the screen? We just broke through at June more than $1.1 trillion for the first half of the year. Can you give me some significance to that?

WALTER ZIMMERMAN, UNITED I-CAP, VICE PRESIDENT: Well, you know, when you can't afford something but you want it, you go into debt. And it's how this country has worked for a long time — at least the last 20 years. It is how the American — how the average American family works.

Nobody thinks twice about going into debt, and it's a sign of weakness. It's a sign that this country doesn't have the same power it used to have and it's a big cost to us all because the government is going to have to borrow money to fund that debt. They are going to crowd the credit markets. Interest rates are not going to go back down. That's going to impair...

BECK: When interest rates go up and all of the good loans that are out there reset — what happens?

ZIMMERMAN: Well, you have a massive amount of mortgages that still need to be reset.

BECK: Bigger than what we just...

ZIMMERMAN: Much, much bigger.

BECK: Much bigger.

ZIMMERMAN: Much, much bigger.
BECK: Right.

ZIMMERMAN: And.

BECK: And these are the good ones? These are the people who are generally...

ZIMMERMAN: Well, it's a mixture — yes.

(CROSSTALK)

BECK: But they're not like the subprimes, like it was?

ZIMMERMAN: No, no.
BECK: Right.

ZIMMERMAN: And with unemployment showing no sign of easing off, and interest rates higher, and housing prices already 20 percent to 50 percent off from the highs, now, those mortgages, they need to be reset or foreclosures waiting to happen.

BECK: OK. Let me — let me go to unemployment.

You know, Mort, I read your — I read your op-ed piece. You're saying much worse than what anybody is saying about unemployment, right?

MORT ZUCKERMAN, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT, CHAIRMAN: Yes, I am. I think the numbers that we are getting are just sort of the headline numbers, 9.5 percent — which, by the way, it's doubled in the last year plus, which is one of the fastest rates of growth of unemployment we've had.

But even those numbers, if you look at what happened just in the last month when they announced there were 467,000 jobs lost — now, we're well into a recession and we're still going to lose that number of jobs but that number is much worse, in fact, in real terms when you look behind the numbers.

For example, the government assumes every month, there is roughly 150,000 to 185,000 jobs that are being created in industries which are not creating jobs.

So, if you look at these numbers two months out or three months out, when they correct them, they jump considerably.

BECK: Right.
ZUCKERMAN: And what we're looking there is for a continuing trend in growth in unemployment. Unemployment is going up.

The Obama administration said when they proposed their stimulus program, it was going to stop at 8 percent.

BECK: Right.

ZUCKERMAN: We're now at least 9.5 percent.

BECK: Right.

ZUCKERMAN: And we're clearly going to go well above 10 percent and hitting 11 percent. That's unprecedented in this kind of process...

BECK: We hit 11 percent — what happens to us?

ZIMMERMAN: Well, the thing is, first of all, that 9.5 percent is something called "U3." I call that fake unemployment.

BECK: What do you mean?

ZIMMERMAN: Because it doesn't include people who stopped looking, who gave up looking, who are in voluntary part-time because they really need full-time and couldn't get it.

BECK: Hang on. I've never bought — I have never bought the whole "I'm going to stop looking for a job." I mean, who stops looking for a job?

ZIMMERMAN: Well, let's say you accept part-time work, you can't find...
BECK: Right. OK.

ZIMMERMAN: Those people are not included in the 9.5 percent.
BECK: Right.

ZIMMERMAN: When you include those people, it's 16.5 percent and growing.
BECK: All right. Let's go — show me the charts here of America.

And, Mort, if you'll take us around here — show us this chart. We have in Oregon, we have 13 percent unemployment, but the broader definition is 23 percent?

ZUCKERMAN: Yes, right.

BECK: OK. And that's underemployed. That's people working part-time that want full-time jobs?

ZUCKERMAN: That's right.

BECK: Isn't Oregon, the one with the highest...

ZUCKERMAN: Total unemployment.

BECK: Yes, but it's the highest.

ZUCKERMAN: Household unemployment is the phrase that used to capture both underemployment and unemployment.

BECK: But also, I believe, they have one of the highest rates of hourly wage — minimum wage.

ZUCKERMAN: Right.

BECK: They raised it way above. And so, they're ahead of the curve which hits the rest of the country next week. This minimum wage — they said please don't do minimum wage because we're going into a recession. What's that going to do when they kick in minimum wage?

ZUCKERMAN: Well, clearly, it's going to intensify the desire of companies who are all trying to slash costs and, by the way, doing a pretty good job of it, because they simply can't be competitive in this kind of an economy and still make money — and they're all trying to make money and stay alive.

So, what you're going to have — it will intensify the opportunities for companies to say we're going to start cutting more people. I think we're looking — as we say, and we said before — into an increased level of unemployment, of underemployment and the — there are now 25 million people who are either unemployed or underemployed in this country — which is an unprecedented level since the end of World War II.

BECK: The double Z-twins.

ZIMMERMAN: And that's a forecast for further mortgage foreclosures.


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