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The Joy of Drinking the Kool-Aid

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

A young extreme liberal (are there any other kind?) decided to have a go at me on his syndicated radio show. As he ripped and clawed, thrashed and gnashed, he kept coming back to the premise that in order to believe my point, that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) presents bogus data, one would have to believe that the government gives out false information.


Ahhh! One who enjoys his Kool-Aid!

His premise was that the BLS has been calculating the same way since President Reagan, which means, if you bought President Reagan and Bush I and II’s pronouncements you had to believe Obama’s.

Or Not!

Seasonal adjustments, births-deaths, and even declining participation pools were not topics for discussion. It was simply a question of whether the BLS was being truthful or not.

His listeners and computerized texters immediately went into action and had a field day after the 20 minute grilling had ended / 6 minutes for me – 14 for him.

Tatro - “A typical Austrian economist”

Tatro – “A right wing Christian pseudo intellectual”

Tatro – “Too long at the well”

Tatro – “Garbage in is not garbage out, you’ve been misinformed”

Tatro – “Our boy ate your lunch”

Tatro – “If you can’t believe our government who can you believe?”

Currently, the Philadelphia Fed is under no-one’s management; since Charlie Plosser retired on March 1st and Patrick Harker is not due to take over until July 1st. Ironically, in its most recent “Economic Release Calendar” it too, like yours truly, is calling into question the BLS’s adjusted data.

“The recent benchmark data revisions from the Bureau of Labor Statistics produced greater changes to the Philadelphia Fed’s estimating methodology than are typical. While estimates for most states do appear to be reasonable, those for some states are not.”


As I read the Philly Fed release, I couldn’t help but smile at my most recently received liberal tongue lashing. My mind continues to rollover my inquisitor’s youth and naïveté and recall certain phrases that may be helpful to him in the years ahead.

“The old saying is that ‘figures, will not lie’ but a new saying is ‘liars will figure.’

It is our duty as practical statisticians to prevent the liars from figuring, in other words, to prevent him from perverting the truth, in some theory he wishes to establish.”

By Carrol D. Wright-US Government statistician, 1889

If my misguided critic wishes to continue to enjoy the Kool-Aid, then I would leave him with this final thought.

If you are young and not a liberal you don’t have a heart, but if you are

old and not a conservative then you don’t have a brain”

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