Saturday, October 01, 2016

Abbott And Costello Go To Wall Street

Looking through my draft blog posts, I started this one in January. I hope it's not a plagiarism of someone else's. If it is, sorry about that. In the meantime, enjoy.

Update: I completely lifted this from a US News and World Report opinion piece. I must have been looking for a place to stash the dialog and blogger was closest at hand. Hilarious!

COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America.

ABBOTT: Good Subject. Terrible Times. It’s 5.6%.

COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?

ABBOTT: No, that’s 23%.

COSTELLO: You just said 5.6%.

ABBOTT: 5.6% Unemployed.

COSTELLO: Right 5.6% out of work.

ABBOTT: No, that’s 23%.

COSTELLO: Okay, so it’s 23% unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, that’s 5.6%.

COSTELLO: WAIT A MINUTE. Is it 5.6% or 23%?

ABBOTT: 5.6% are unemployed. 23% are out of work.

COSTELLO: If you are out of work you are unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, Obama said you can’t count the “Out of Work” as the unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.


ABBOTT: No, you miss his point.

COSTELLO: What point?

ABBOTT: Someone who doesn’t look for work can’t be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn’t be fair.

COSTELLO: To whom?

ABBOTT: The unemployed.

COSTELLO: But ALL of them are out of work.

ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work. Those who are out of work gave up looking and if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.

COSTELLO: So if you’re off the unemployment roles that would count as less unemployment?

ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!

COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don’t look for work?

ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That’s how it gets to 5.6%. Otherwise it would be 23%. COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means there are two ways to bring down the unemployment number?

ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.

COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?

ABBOTT: Correct.

COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?

ABBOTT: Bingo.

COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to have people stop looking for work.

ABBOTT: Now you’re thinking like a Democrat.

COSTELLO: I don’t even know what the hell I just said!

ABBOTT: Now you’re thinking like Hillary.


Kelly the little black dog said...

A little perspective.

In 1961, JFK removed "discouraged workers"--those folks who had quit looking for work--from the unemployment statistic.

Under Reagan, military service was reclassified from "not in the labor force" to "employed."

In the 80s and 90s, according to Austan Goolsbee, "Congress began loosening the standards to qualify for disability payments .... and people who would normally be counted as unemployed started moving in record numbers into the disability system -- a kind of invisible unemployment."

JFK removed "discouraged workers" from unemployment rolls, but in 1994, the Clinton administration removed them from the labor rolls. As Kevin Phillips writes, "The longer-term discouraged—some 4 million U.S. adults—fell out of the main monthly tally."

Beginning in '96, the sample for measuring unemployment dropped from 60,000 to 50,000, and a disproportionate number of the dropped households were in the inner cities.

Ilíon said...

This demonstrates the inherent danger both of:
1) government gathering statistics;
2) government formulating policy on the basis of statistics.

K T Cat said...

In the end, it's all about this: Is someone willing to pay you to do something? Is that something is, in fact, nothing, that won't go on forever.

See also: Venezuela, socialist collapse of.

Jedi Master Ivyan said...