Saturday, December 6, 2008

Call me crazy

but the jobs numbers released yesterday are starting to make sense.

I know, I know, I suffer from Bush Derangement Syndrome and I'm paranoid as a coot. But this is what my tiny mind has noticed: for years now, the Bush Administration has released certain economic indicators only to quietly revise them a few weeks later. Now this isn't unusual, nor is it unusual for an administration to put a positive spin on information it makes public. But what was notable about the BA was that the first numbers were almost always better than the later numbers. A jobs report might show that 100,000 jobs had been created (which wasn't actually a great number, but the spinners would applaud like crazy and the public would say, Oh, good.) Then a few weeks later, on page 23 there'd be an announcement that that number had been revised downward to maybe 65,000. It seemed obvious to me that the BA was using the rosy numbers to push legislation or to make certain rule changes more palatable.

Then came this week's jobs report, and it was astonishingly, shockingly, awe-inspiringly bad. Scary bad. What-the-hell-is-going-on bad.

I thought, wow. They've really checked out. Or they've lost their mojo so completely that they can't influence their own bean counters anymore. Or 500,000 jobs lost is the rosy version. Or they've suddenly discovered a deep-seated desire to level with the public. (Snort.)

Then I heard the news on NPR. In light of the dreadful jobs report, Congress is close to agreeing with the White House to dip into the money set aside to develop fuel efficient vehicles in order to bail out the automobile industry.

Oh. Dang, they're good. (That would be the Orwellian good, of course.)

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