Politicians, media distort economic facts

Feb. 6, 2013

By Katy Grimes

Economist California Cover

The U.S. economy lost more than 1.4 million jobs between December and January. But it’s almost impossible to find any reports in the mainstream media about this.

Instead, the media primarily have reported on reduced federal spending, as if that is enough of a balancing act. But the government has no choice but to make cuts as the United States now runs deficits of more than $1 trillion. It cannot continue.

Much of the media have been ignoring the truth about the economy, cherry-picking some factoids and telling outright falsehoods.

Shrinking labor force

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of the U.S. labor force “that is employed” has continually fallen since 2006.

But it gets worse.

The number of Americans “not in the labor force” more than tripled during Barack Obama’s first term in office. This number is particularly interesting because it is larger than the increase in the number of Americans “not in the labor force” during the entire decade of 1980-1990.

The mainstream media have been giddy reporting 157,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in January. But it’s the “non-seasonally adjusted” numbers — the number of Americans with a job — which actually decreased by 1,446,000 between December and January, according to Michael Snyder, an economist, attorney and author of the Economic Collapse blog. These numbers are even more important.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the labor participation number has been in a free fall since 2006:

2006: 63.1 percent employed

2007: 63.0

2008: 62.2

2009: 59.3

2010: 58.5

2011: 58.4

In January, only 57.9 percent of the civilian labor force was employed.

What does this mean?

“A 1954 Studebaker Lark has more momentum than this economy!” said CNBC’s financial expert, Rick Santelli. He noted in December that the labor force participation rate has dropped significantly since Obama was elected. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this means the number of Americans age 16 or older who decided not to work or even to seek a job increased by 8,332,000 to a record 88,839,000 in President Barack Obama’s first term.

“The people who run the country — on both sides of the aisle — they love to get elected and they also love to fib about the statistics in any way they can,” Santelli said. “Once again, I think my common phrase these days is: Shame on all of them.”

“Before Obama took office, the labor force participation rate had not been as low as 63.6 percent since 1981, the year President Ronald Reagan took over from President Jimmy Carter,” a time of deep recession, CNS News reported. Santelli noted in January the total debt that our children are currently charged with is $3.5 million per baby born today. Santelli is right. Instead of just listening to the media hype and spin, look at the numbers.

According to the BLS, in 2007 more than 146 million Americans were employed.  Today, that number has dropped to 141.6 million, even though our population has grown by about 15 million.

What recovery?

State, local and federal governments, together with the help of the media, report that we are in a “recovery.” They insist unemployment is lower than it was a couple of years ago.

But the truth is the continuing drop in the labor force. And during Obama’s first term the number of Americans on food stamps increased by an average of about 11,000 per day. These statistics go hand in hand.

“When Obama was inaugurated in January 2009, the number of Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP) recipients was 31,939,110. By October 2012, the latest month reported, they had jumped to 47,525,329,” CNS News reported. “That means the food stamp program grew by approximately 11,133 recipients per day from January 2009 to October 2012.” SNAP is formerly known as the Food Stamp program.

CNS News also reported, “[F]ederal spending on SNAP has increased every fiscal year that Obama has been in office. In FY 2009—when SNAP was still known as the ‘Food Stamp’ program—the government spent $55.6 billion. According to an April 2012 report from the Congressional Budget Office, SNAP enrollment increased by 70 percent between 2007 and 2011.”

The Obama administration, California Gov. Jerry Brown and the media have been misleading about unemployment, welfare expansion, government entitlements and the true condition of our economy. But they appear to be closely protected by much of the media.

California’s poverty rate of 23.5 percent is the highest in the nation — much higher than the national average of 16.1 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Killing off small business

Millions of small businesses are on the verge of extinction. Yet local, state and federal bureaucrats and politicians just continue to heap more taxes and fees on them, more rules and more regulations. Just since November when President Barack Obama was re-elected, the federal government has issued hundreds of new regulations.

“Get your boot off of my neck!” says one small business owner I know every time she is forced to pay another tax increase of additional license cost or fee.

A recent Gallup poll found 61 percent of all small business owners in America are worried about the potential cost of healthcare because of Obamacare. A shocking 30 percent of all small business owners in America say they are not only not hiring, but they fear that they will go out of business within the next 12 months.

“More U.S. small-business owners say they let more employees go than they hired on average over the past 12 months, for a net hiring index of -10 in January, according to the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index,” Gallup Economy reported on Jan. 31.

Texas Governor Rick Perry recently called for returning “excess tax money” to taxpayers in his state, while California small businesses lost jobs as their taxes rose.

Yet according to the National Federation of Small Business California, small businesses account for more than 97 percent of all jobs in California.

What better way to destroy the economy than to kill off small businesses?

Spin and hype

Even bad economic news is hyped by the media as though it is good news.

In response to the news that the economy “contracted” by -0.1 percent in the final quarter of last year, Democrats touted the claim of Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist for Capital Economics, that it’s “the best-looking contraction in U.S. GDP you’ll ever see. The drag from defense spending and inventories is a one-off. The rest of the report is all encouraging.”

Breitbart’s John Nolte summed up the spin:

* “Politico saw the jobs numbers as something that ‘could soothe some of the renewed economic anxiety in Washington.’

* “The AP saw the jobs numbers as proof the ‘U.S. job market is proving sturdier than expected” and “mostly encouraging.’

* “CBS News wants to assure all of us that the ‘[l]atest job numbers signal economic recovery.’

* “Yahoo News says, “Don’t Be Fooled by the GDP Report: The Economy Is Gaining Strength.'”

List of bad news

Nolte made a list of the bad news far too many Americans face:

* “What you’re seeing from the media is shamelessly dishonest propaganda.

* “Poverty is increasing.

* “Gas prices have almost doubled.

* “The price of health care premiums has exploded and will only explode more (but-but-but Obama said…!)

* “Poor and middle-class incomes are falling.

* “One-in-five Americans are on food stamps.

* “The non-partisan GAO says Obama’s exploding deficit is unsustainable.

* “Eight million people are looking for work.

* “Our labor force has shrunk to 30-year levels (170,000 more dropped out last month).

* “Chronic unemployment hasn’t been this bad since before World War II.

* “The long-term unemployment rate is more than 14 percent. And if the labor force was merely the same size today as it was the day Obama took office, today’s unemployment rate would be closer to 11 percent.”

When’s the last time the media talked about any of that?

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