Monday, September 3, 2012

Biden's scrambled brains

Vice President Joe Biden spent Labor Day campaigning in Detroit, appropriately enough, and said the following to a union-heavy (AFL-CIO) crowd:
Folks let me make something clear, and say it to the press: America is better off today than they left us when they left.
Wait, what? Is that even a complete sentence? Making something--anything--clear has never been one of Biden's strengths (which is about the only thing his comment does make clear). But okay, we all know what he was trying to say (I think): America is better off today than it was four years ago. Or alternately: this is a better America today than the one they (the Bush Administration) left us four years ago (when they left).

Still, the really interesting thing here is that he's allowed to get away with such fuzzy, nonsensical language. Look around. All of the news sources quoting Biden here don't bother to note the lack of clarity in his words, the garbled thinking those words indicate. Instead, Biden's words are reported as is and treated as if Biden had spoken intelligently. If Romney or Ryan had made such a painfully unclear remark, they would have been excoriated in the press. But hey, it's just Joe being Joe, right?

As regards to the actual idea--that people are better off now than four years ago--the actual evidence suggests it's not true for at all for a great majority of the citizenry. When Obama and Biden took office, the unemployment rate was at 7.8% (in January of 2009). Today, it sits at 8.3%, even with all of the BLS fudging (the real number is closer to 10%). There's no way around this simple truth, no way around the fact that the unemployment rate has been higher every single month of the Obama Presidency than in any single month of the previous Administration.

The unemployment rate was 4.2% when Bush took office (in January of 2001). The highest it got in 2001 was 5.7% (after 9-11, let us remember) in December. And it hovered around 6% for the next two years, after which it--miracle of miracles--began to drop (in 2004), eventually falling to as low as 4.4% in 2007. Following the financial crisis of that year, it did indeed begin to rise again, eventually rising all the way to 7.3% in December of 2008 and then the 7.8% in January of 2009 when Obama's reign began.

From there, it shot up to 10% by October of 2009, then remained 9% or higher until late 2011. As I have extensively detailed previously, the BLS has--for the past several years--employed every trick in its book to push the rate down, to make it look better than it actually is. The labor force participation rate has been on the decline since Obama took office, which--all by itself--keeps the reported unemployment rate artificially low by about one percentage point (or a little more). Add to that seasonal "corrections" by the BLS and we get the just over 8% rate we've seen for all of 2012, when the real monthly rates are actually closer to 10%.

On top of that, a recent study has shown that the median household income has been falling since June of 2009 (which I noted previously). The numbers are striking:
Real median annual household income fell to $53,508 from $54,916 during the 18-month recession from December 2007 to June 2009, according to the firm’s study of income data for the 36- month period ended in June 2012. Incomes kept falling during the 36-month period since then, dropping to $50,964 in June 2012.
Note the correlation with the unemployment rates here: the recession--running from December 2007 to June 2009 saw a drop in median income of around $1500 per household, while the unemployment rate rose from 5% to a whopping 9.5%, thus almost doubling. The so-called recovery--from August 2009 until June 2012--saw a whopping drop in median income of another $2500 per household and an unemployment rate that--supposedly--worked it's way down to 8.2% (though it's actually not moved much, at all).

On balance then, the typical person is a) more likely to be unemployed now, as opposed to when Obama took office and b) likely to have a substantially lower income (about 8% lower) than when Obama took office. On what planet do such numbers indicate that people are better off now, as opposed to then? Planet Biden, I guess.

And Planet Mainstream Media, because amazingly Biden, Obama, and Democrats in Congress are being allowed to get ways with this nonsense. In an evidence-based reality, there's no way Obama could possibly campaign on the idea that "we're better off now than we were four years ago." The best he could do is use the unprovable "we're not as bad off as we would have been, if it hadn't been for me and my policies." That's at least an arguable--to a point--position. Really, it was the Administration's general position up until the primary season started. Now, with the election drawing closer, it's opted to simply lie, to claim what any reasonable, thinking person can see is an absolute untruth. And again, the Obama fanboys who are the media elite are letting him and his cohorts get away with it, from allowing the use of the dopey "created jobs" metric to ignoring the evidence on incomes.

Why isn't Biden taken to task for his scrambled thoughts? Because the media doesn't mind, as long as they can swallow what Biden (and Obama) is serving, as long as a narrative exists--however bogus and unsupported--to allow their continued panegyrics on the Anointed One and his Clown Prince.

Cheers, all.

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