When Barack Obama was elected in 2008, he inherited the single worst economic calamity since the Great Depression. The nation bled jobs, the stock market tanked, world economies teetered, and foreclosures forced millions of Americans out of the middle class and into the uncertainty of impending poverty. Not surprisingly, Obama said from the start that his re-election would hinge on the economy or it would be “one term and out.”
Now that the economy is showing signs of recovery, the GOP is claiming the administration is fudging the job numbers.
Rush Limbaugh, the petty purveyor of partisan poison thinks so. In Tuesday’s harangue, “El Rushbo” accused the administration of manipulating the raw numbers versus the seasonally adjusted ones to make things look better than they are.
Specifically, he claims the seasonally adjusted jobs number (the method every administration has used to ‘even out’ the spikes in jobs or unemployment to account for historical times of the year that are typically worse) mask the truth about the raw numbers (the pure unvarnished count in a given month).
According to Limbaugh, we should focus on the raw numbers and not the seasonally adjusted ones.
“That’s part of this two and half million fewer jobs. Are you hearing me on this, folks? It is corrupt as it can be. Well, now, the wait a minute, though. There’s nothing new here in the seasonal adjustment. Normally we never talk raw numbers. Nobody ever reports or talks about raw numbers. I happened to see today the raw numbers, and little red flags are going up, my curiosity is being piqued here. And then I see that the labor force participation rate, 1.2 million people dropped out of the labor force in one month, and it happens to be December to January.”
In a blog response to the Rushster by Barry Ritzholtz (The Big Picture) in his detailed breakdown of the jobs reports, there is no smoking gun here because every January people lose their jobs “in a very predictable and consistent manner” for a variety of reasons that have allowed for adjustments used by Republican and Democrat administrations dating back to 1983 and beyond.
In other words, Limbaugh is accusing the Obama team of doing the same thing with the numbers that former Republican presidents Reagan, Bush Sr. and Bush Jr. have also done.
Could it be that the Rushster’s cigar smoke is choking off the few brain cells he has left; or did he get into the Valentine’s Day candy and launch his blood sugar into the stratosphere and make himself loopy?
He then goes on to point out how little withholding tax the U.S. Treasury took in for January as proof that it exposes the administration’s lie about the 243,000 jobs created because the withholding went down year-over-year.
Admitting he “didn’t have all the data yet” before making his bold pronouncement about withholding taxes, he simply whipped out his abacus and decreed that because the general number was down, it has to mean they reveal the Obama administration is lying.
“You’d also figure that if jobs are being created, as we’re told that they were from December to January, that the government’s withholding tax revenue would also go up. So we’re desperately here trying to find out what actually happened in January on withholding. It looks like it is up, but I’m not sure yet.” he said on his radio show.
Memo to Rush: jobs can be created in the thousands that will reduce the national unemployment rate, and the withholding numbers can still go down because of full-time jobs being added with lower wages, and the addition of more part-time jobs which still count as ‘new’ jobs but drive the withholding number down because of reduced hourly wages.
It’s not surprising really that Limbaugh has begun slapping Democrats with his considerable red herring.
January’s unemployment rate of 8.3% is the lowest it’s been in years; the administration has presided over 23 consecutive months of jobs growth; the president’s approval rating (measured before these numbers were released) is back to 50%; and the GOP presidential primary contest looks like a clown car race inside a category 5 hurricane.
El Rushbo can’t help himself.
Like President Obama, he too knows that this election will hinge on the condition of the economy and that since it is improving and the GOP leadership of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell have done nothing since Obama’s election to help it recover, the GOP can’t take any credit for something happening that they bet the farm wouldn’t.
The economy getting better without their help, and Obama getting re-elected with it.
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