- You can believe in us, we are the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
- You can believe in us, we are the senior Senator from Arizona (McCain), the Secretary of State (Kerry), and the President of the United States.
- You can believe in us, we are Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.
When it comes to credibility, if you were required to choose just one from the list above, who would it be? Allow me to assist you in the decision making process.
This past Friday, the BLS announced a reduction in the unemployment rate, from 7.4% to 7.3%. In order to arrive at that lower percentage, as we all know (or at least should know); they had to “discount” over half a million people. This means that individuals who are currently out of work — and supposedly not actively seeking employment — are no longer counted as being unemployed. This BLS adjustment increased the total number of people outside of the labor force to a record 90.5 million Americans, as the labor force participation rate fell to a 35-year low of 63.2%. Not surprisingly, we are then asked to believe that this type of misleading statistical accounting — specifically, a lower unemployment rate — makes perfect sense.
At a recent town hall meeting, Senator John McCain said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has killed 100,000 of his own people. Yet, this figure of 100,000 actually represents the total number of people — on both sides of the conflict — who have tragically died during the ongoing Syrian civil war, thus McCain’s statement clearly discounts any deaths caused by the rebels. In fact, to put McCain’s statement in perspective, just imagine someone saying that in regards to the United States Civil War, Abraham Lincoln’s Union Army killed everyone, and the Confederate Army of Jefferson Davis killed no one. In addition, according to McCain, there will no boots on the ground. Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry has promised that a Syrian attack would be “unbelievably small.” Let’s see, is that like being just a little bit pregnant? Furthermore, Kerry reiterated there would no boots on the ground. Moreover, as it relates to the content of the speech, it will be anyone’s best guess regarding the president’s upcoming address to the nation. Perhaps it will include something about moral outrage, righteous indignation, and, you never know, Obama might raise the possibility of bringing back Colin Powell in order to help point out all of al-Assad’s weapons of mass destruction. Of course, the president will also remind everyone that there will be no boots on the ground.
On the other hand, Abbott and Costello bring decades of humor, which in most cases included sincere elements of truth. Most recently, the former comedic duo have been resurrected on the internet in order to provide a thorough and humorous accounting — yet sometimes vacillating description — regarding the differences between being “unemployed” and “out of work.”
There you have it, the case has now been made, and it’s up to you to decide. Regrettably, #1 and #2 on the aforementioned list have something in common — they’re part of the U.S. government and you can believe them if you so desire. However, for me, the choice is easy. I have supreme confidence in the guys who provided tremendous clarity when it came to “Who’s on First?”
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