Apparently we just can’t trust government statistics. But, then again, what else is new? According to a new report, released by John Crudele with the NY Post, the jobs reports leading up to the 2012 Presidential Election were “faked.” Remember when the unemployment rate magically dropped from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent (coincidently helping Obama keep his previous promise of lowering the unemployment rate before the end of his first term)? Yeah, that’s just one of the jobs reports in question.
More than simply being manipulated, the Census Bureau was aware of the tampered numbers. Never did the bureau deem it necessary to share with the Markets, Press, or American People that there was some question about the accuracy or dependability of their numbers leading up to the Election. Heck, they didn’t even bother to disclose the data tampering to the Labor Department.
But let’s not stop there. According to the NY Post:
A knowledgeable source says the deception went beyond that one employee — that it escalated at the time President Obama was seeking reelection in 2012 and continues today.
Well. . . I imagine making up data for the most closely watched metric of economic health in the US is kinda addicting. You couldn’t possibly expect the Bureau to suddenly raise the unemployment rate back up to 8.1 percent after Obama was re-elected. Right?
Investigations (ya know. . . The press refers to them as “witch-hunts” when Darrell Issa calls for one) are likely to crop up in the coming weeks. While it is admittedly early to accuse our incredibly transparent and honest Obama Administration of “cooking the books” in the run up to his showdown with Mitt Romney, it’s not really out of the picture either. (I’m sure they’d just tell us that Americans can keep their current jobs numbers if they like their current jobs numbers.)
The revelations are likely to further erode the government’s already decaying credibility. Regardless of the scandal’s size (or deliberate nature) it continues to feed the American Public’s perception that the Federal government is about as trustworthy as Jerry Lundegaard from Fargo. Especially when these revelations are put in the context of recent Obama Administration scandals. The most unnerving of which is clearly the IRS’s willingness to target the President’s political opponents.
Earlier this year we learned the big scandal of the summer when it came to light that the Internal Revenue Service had intentionally targeted “tea-party” nonprofits for harassment and extra scrutiny leading up to the 2012 election. Prophetically, that scandal also began with the narrative that a couple of “rogue” employees had acted “inappropriately”. Of course we now know that the harassment of right-wing political organizations was wide-spread and organized from the higher echelons of Washington DC.
In fact, when compared to the revelations of IRS misconduct, the NY Post report looks potentially damning for the Department of Labor and the credibility of the US Census. The IRS scandal demonstrated a deliberate and willful manipulation of government resources to consolidate and strengthen the Administration’s power. It illustrated a willingness to coerce a win through the power of government. The politically convenient timing of these “fake” jobs reports (coinciding with a troubled Obama reelection effort) certainly should raise an eyebrow. If not by themselves, they should merit inquisitiveness when put in context with the Obama Administration’s habit of manipulation, coercion, and outright lies.
On the other hand, does it really matter? It’s not as if the reports – before or after the 2012 election – are reflective of America’s true economic health. As individual data points, many of the traditional metrics we utilize to measure the “health” of the economy are growing increasingly irrelevant.
Our labor force is at a 35 year low, with more Americans on public assistant programs than ever before. Seven point something percent “unemployment” is a laughably useless number when placed within the broader economic picture. When the headline unemployment rate fails to take into account the massive amount of jobs reduced to part time, the millions of Americans who have dropped from the labor force, and the low quality nature of created jobs, the report is little more than a curiosity. (Well, I guess it does tell the market whether or not the Fed is going to turn off the QE spigot.)
Investors, economists, journalists (eye-roll) and politicos should look forward to more information from the Bureau regarding Crudele’s revelations. Soon a flood of excuses, deflections, and reports will be submitted to explain away the actions of “a rogue employee” in the Census Bureau. Of course, all official reports will be stashed away in my home library next to Obama’s speeches and Bill Clinton’s explanations: Filed under “fiction”.
Rick Santelli reacted to the news yesterday on CNBC: