This Is Your Obama Recovery: A More Pessimistic Correction

Yesterday, in my piece “This Is Your Obama Recovery“, I looked at the math behind the unemployment numbers.  I concluded that when you subtract the unemployment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Labor Force Participation numbers, the number of Americans working is two percentage points lower than it was when Barack Obama was inaugurated, and only a fifth of a point better than the “low point” of the recession (in uemployment terms), in October of 2009.

I reached the numbers by subtracting the unemployment figure from the participation figure; for example, in October of 2009, I subtracted the 10% unemployment rate from the 65% participation rate to get an overall employment rate of 55%.

A commenter at Hot Air - where Allahpundit was kind enough to run my post in its entirety – pointed out that I did the math wrong.  He was correct, of course; the unemployment rate is among those participating in the labor force, not the entire force.  I needed to recalculate, multiplying the BLS Labor Force Participation Rate  by the same month’s unemployment rate as supplied by the BLS.

It actually makes things worse for the Administration.

  • January 2009:  7.8% unemployment among the 65.7% of people participating in the workforce meant 60.67% of the work force was working the day Barack Obama was inaugurated.
  • October 2010 - lopping 10% unemployment from the 65% particpation rate leaves you 58.5% of the workforce at work on the month the unemployment rate supposedly bottomed.
  • January 2012 - Three years after Obama took office, with the unemployment rate right about the point where Obama said that it’d peak with Porkulus?  8.3% unemployment among a 63.7% share of the workforce still in the workforce yields 58.41% of the labor force actually working.

So I was wrong.  We actually have a lower percentage of the work force actually working now than at the “low point” of the recession”, and two and a quarter points lower than when Obama took office.

I regret the error.

I hope America feels the same.

Correction

Earlier today, I wrote about an op-ed from over the weekend in the Strib.  Reading it, I assumed that the piece – by “Hinda Mandell”, formerly of Edina – was incredibly bad, overly over-the-top, broad-to-the-point-of-unfunny, stereotype-clogged parody.

Mandell is, in fact, a real person, with a twitter feed of her own; Ms. Mandell is apparently a real mid-level “communications” academic whose brief seems, ironicaly, to include parsing communication so finely for the wispiest hint of perceived victimization that “communication” of any type will eventually be rendered impossible.  The article was apparently on the level.  Not to mention the first thing I’ve ever read that was actually too dumb to be on Minnesota Progressive Project.

Ryan Rhodes figured it out before me – and after almost ten years of blogging, he’s just as worth reading as he ever was, by the way. He commemorated Ms. Mandell’s raving with the gifts of art…

and fisk.

Who says there’s a higher education bubble? Note to aspiring communication students: Avoid the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, lest you come out of college much, much, MUCH dumber than when you went in.

Anyway – I guess there are a couple of lessons from this whole thing:

  • We have too many academics.
  • The higher ed bubble is about to explode. And when it does,and if (heaven forfend) Hinda Mandell has to find another gig, wouldn’t it be ironic if she had to get a job as a barrista?

I apologize for the error.

I’m off to tell my farmer friends to stop referring to “Hard Red Spring Wheat“, before Hinda Mandell claims they’re bigoted against Native Americans.

Irrational Depression

I’m human.

I know, stop the presses.

And like any human, emotions will cloud my assessment of things on occasion.

Of course, being a blogger, I have my critics and/or amateur fact-checkers.  They, too, being human, can let emotions get the best of ‘em from time to time.

This past week, we had a collision of emotions; I was generally very “up” (yes, I’m still stoked over Heller).  For whatever reason, some of those who disagree with me would seem not to be.  I dunno.

But this isn’t about them.  This is about me!

There were three different posts on local leftyblogs that purported to correct me on a couple of issues.

“Ollie” at Bluestem Prairie (what is it with leftybloggers and anonymity?) noted – correctly – that I’d mixed up a couple of bills and erred in connecting Rep. Bachmann’s domestic drilling proposals to those referred to a Marketwatch article last week; additionally, it was correctly pointed out that halving the price of oil will not half the price of gasoline.  Mea culpa as far as it goes.  Of course, neither criticism touches the important point; more domestic drilling will lower prices all up and down the supply chain in the mid-to-long term because of increased supply, and in the short term because of the psychology of markets.  Will it drop to $2?  Who knows.  Will it drop?  All other things being equal, almost certainly.  Which candidates and politicians support this? 

Any corrections there?

Charlie Quimby notes correctly that in my piece last week on the founder of the prototype for the Canadian health care system, I didn’t read the entire referenced PDF report, which was a little less depressed about the whole thing (and was written by the Quebec provincial healthcare authority).  I won’t pretend to be an expert on healthcare (and either should most “health care experts”, for that matter), but it’s a fair cop; the negative quotes of a leader don’t necessarily negate the reports from the troops in the field.

Please pass that observation on to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, OK?

Useless Idiots

So if you counterprotest a “peace” rally, that must naturally mean you’re “pro-war” or “anti-peace”, right?

Nobody could be that juvenile or stupid.  Right?

Bear in mind, I’m an inherently civil guy.  While I don’t mind mixing it up with people (hence, I blog and host a talk show), I don’t especially relish conflict. 

But Ken Avidor is not a very bright person.  He may be the one person on earth who makes Eric Zaetsch look coherent.    The only person who seems actually too dumb to post on the Dump Bachmann site (note to Eva Young:  You got me.  When a site that draws 2,500 visitors a day mentions a site that draws maybe 100, it’s a sign that I’m desperate for traffic.  Good call).

It’s a shame, really, that Chuck Olson – who is an unapologetic lefty, but seems to be a relatively reasonable guy, and who interviewed me for the “Uptake” site, the  left-leaning videoblogger site that carries Avidor’s little peal of self indulgence, before the demonstration yesterday – has to be associated with such a hamster.

On the other hand – if the other side has to dig THAT far down to respond, it’s probably a sign of intellectual bankruptcy.  Redundant as the phrase is when Avidor is involved.

Note to lefty videobloggers:  If you want to get footage of me, just ask.  It’s not like I’m camera-shy.  You have only your argument to lose.  He says with a half-smile.

UPDATE: Mike McIntee and Chuck Olson note that Uptake has changed Avidor’s original headline.  I thank them for this. 

As to what to call us?  Good question.  Anti-pullout?  I gotta think about that.

And for those among you (Flash?  I’m talkin’ to you!) who will point out my occasional lapses into ire, referring to “peace” protesters as “pro-genocide”; enh.  Half of it’s a fair cop.  I’m human.  But the fact is, when the Vietnam protesters got their way, millions died.  Had the anti-Cold War protesters gotten theirs, hundreds of millions would still be beholden to Communism, languishing in the Gulag (and that the Russians seem to be headed back toward that state doesn’t take away from the magnificence of the freedoms that Poles, Latvians, Lithuanians, Estonians, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, Bulgarians, Slovenians and former East Germans now enjoy).  How are today’s protesters any different?

You answer that – and for my part, I’ll try to do as well as Mike and Chuck did, rhetoric-wise.

Schwoops

A while ago, I wrote about the City Pages – the Twin Cities’ “alternative” freebie ‘zine – and their front-page article about the 35W Bridge Collapse.  I said that…:

 …”last week’s City Pages did a long, meandering, utterly speculative assignment of blame to everyone from the Governor to David Strom.  Absent from Anderson and Demko’s list:  “The design of the bridge itself”.

Former City-Pager Mike Mosedale emailed me:

That is incorrect. If you read the story, you will see there is a full section devoted to the subject.
Here is one relevant snippet:

“Even though it’s early in the investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board is already raising questions about the bridge’s design. One issue of concern: the bridge didn’t have any piers built into the riverbed. It also lacked what are commonly referred to as “engineering redundancies”—back-up support built into the system to minimize damage if one part fails. Last week, the NTSB and Federal Highway Authority focused on so-called gusset plates, steel sheets that connected the bridge’s girders together. The inspectors said the plates may have been a design flaw.”
 
I’m not interested in participating in your comment scrum, but I do think you should post a correction or apology.

Well, it goes to show you that I don’t read the City Pages as closely as I once did. 

But I apologize:  I missed the article’s brief nod to empirical fairness amid the pages of speculative, politicized witchhunting.  My bad. 

Because goodness knows how important it is to check one’s facts.