By David Glenn Cox
Mark Twain called it, “Lies, Damn lies and statistics.” With a few numbers you can prove anything with a few more you can hide anything. Properly arranged you can prove it never was there in the first place. The jobs report magically adds 2.5 million jobs. A good thing if it were not for a statistical anomaly. Under the PPE program workers are technically still employed while not at work. They are in employment purgatory. When the smoke clears, they might not have a job but for right now they don’t but we say they do, potentially have a job.
I’ve been reading the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports for a long time. It’s just a weird fascination a crossword puzzle of numbers and facts and truth. The truth is in the numbers, but the facts don’t always add up to truths. You must first learn their language, “Alternative Measure of Labor Under utilization” A simple chart with six levels of employment hell U-1 through U-6. U-3 is the number the politicians like to use. It sounds good but is meaningless. U-6 will take you straight to Dante’s door. This month the U-3 number was 13.3% that’s much better than we thought. All those predictions of Great Depressions and gloom and doom and the numbers were so much better than we expected. Hurrah! Repeat and serve.
This month’s U-6 number was 21.2% and that number doesn’t include those covered under PPE. But in the lighter than air society only the good news is considered. Wall Street cheered rising nearly one thousand points. Hurray, were saved! Everything is going to be alright now…isn’t it? We can forget this whole ugly event and go back to the way it was in the good old days? With interest rates effectively at zero money has nowhere to go. They stand around the craps table watching them tumbling bones. Better than expected jobs report! Or Covid vaccine passes first trial! Getting so excited masturbating into their checkbooks while denying gravity.
There is also an annual phenomenon politician’s latch on to like a burr on a cotton sock. They point and say, just look at those April jobs numbers. It’s called Spring, buildings get painted and the grass gets cut. It’s a fact but it’s not the truth and you can’t build a recovery on cutting the grass and hiring ticket takers at Six Flags.
But if restaurants are operating at fifty percent of capacity, they will need half as many waiters and staff and order fifty percent less food from their suppliers and the suppliers will let go of half of their drivers. State and local governments underfunded and over committed will slash projects and programs bleeding themselves to remove the humors. When the general populace gets the bill in the form of higher taxes, expect a howl. Raising taxes in a down economy is like feeding a dog on his tail you’ve got to raise the economy.
The 1st of June an estimated four to five-hundred thousand Coloradans were unable to pay their rent or house payment times forty-nine other states. A number which will show up again like a phantom further down the road. Is it better for the country to allow millions of its citizen to be financially ruined? Is it like “The Betsy,” cheaper to let them be killed financially than to retool the factory? Can we ignore the dominoes or the fat lady warming up in the wings? The world’s largest economy careening out of control with no one at the wheel. An executive branch about to make Captain Crunch an Admiral or maybe even Secretary of Defense.
A Legislative branch dominated by Mitch McConnell and the shit kickers. The dead-end kids looking for Jimmy Cagney and finding only the inimitable orange one chewing on the rope of his tire swing. There’s a fire sale going on down at the Fuhrer bunker with all Republicans half off. With the furor over George Floyd’s murder racists Republicans have been coming out of the woodwork. “No, I’m the craziest Republican in six states!” I’ll see your crazy and raise you an insanity. Let’s talk about the character of the man the police brutally murdered for the crime of driving a Mercedes. Hmm, two black men in a nice car…looks suspicious we better check that out. Remember, not all Republicans are racist, but all racists are Republicans.
The old maxim says nothing ever happens during an election year. Well, in the words of Mitch McConnell, “Don’t just do something stand there!” Satire: Not the actual words of the Turd turtle. McConnell prepares the Kool aid peering out from his mirrored sunglasses. “It’s time my children it is time! Come drink children it is all over for us now. Not content to sink the ship McConnell wants to break all the china before she slips beneath the waves. Making millions suffer needlessly a thank you to the American public. I’d really like to help you, but it’s against my personal philosophy. I came here with nothing and now I am worth millions but if I were to help you now. You might become dependent on the government.
There are numbers and then there are numbers. The only numbers which count are the millions of Americans being forced into the streets living in their cars fomenting a banking crisis that will make 2008 look like a Comic-con convention. Building in wrath and intensity, you can’t put your knee on the neck of forty million Americans and expect a recovery or peace. You can admire the Emperor’s new outfit for only so long before you realize that birthmark isn’t a stain. Fiddling while Rome burns, appointing his horse proconsul for Elba or naming Admiral Crunch Secretary of Defense.
Reality is coming like a pissed off cop on a Swat team.