Friday, November 04, 2011

Oh Good, Another "Revised Statistic"

You all know, I’m sure, about the government’s reporting on unemployment, whereby if you give up looking for a job you are no longer counted as unemployed. Likewise if your unemployment benefits run out; you don’t have a job, you have no income or health insurance, but you are not unemployed. That’s how they avoid reporting actual unemployment of something like 16% and keep reassuring us that it is a mere 9% or so.

You know too, I’m sure, about the government’s reporting methods on inflation, where they do not include food or fuel prices in the calculation. They include things like luxury yachts, cars, designer clothing and pretty much everything that no one buys when times are bad and which every store in town is currently selling at a discount as a result. They do not include gasoline, which has gone from $2.04 per gallon to $3.85 and which people making minimum wage must buy every week. They do not include bread, milk or hamburger, which… Well, you get the point. It lets them tell us that inflation is under control.

Now we have another statistic which has been bothering the government, namely poverty rates, which are increasing far too rapidly to suit the government Propaganda Machine Census Bureau. We can pretty much predict the reaction, and indeed, they have come up with a “revised method” for counting the poverty rate. Everyone who is surprised by this, raise your hand. Yes, I thought so.

And the new method is not trivial, by any means. The article in the New York Times tells us that, “One alternate census data set quietly published last week said the number of poor people has grown by 4.6 million since 2006, not by 9.7 million as the bureau reported in September.” Cutting the number of people who live in poverty in half would certainly make this nation's government world image look better.

Bleeding heart liberal that I am, I have to confess that I would prefer that we actually do it, rather than just manipulate numbers to pretend we are doing it. I realize that sort of means that I am just a little bit out of step with the principles which “make this country great” but, in the immortal words of a famous sailor man, “I am what I am.”

I’m surprised we don’t have a “seasonally adjusted” poverty rate.

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