Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

As RedState reported earlier today, the jobs report was released and it was an absolute dumpster fire. Only 194,000 jobs were created, far below the half a million expected. 183,000 people left the labor force as well. Couple that with the out of control inflation the nation is experiencing, and stagflation is starting to feel like a good word that describes the current malaise.

With the bad news hanging out there, the White House trotted out Joe Biden, who had just bragged about people getting fired over vaccine mandates a day earlier, to smooth things over (see Biden’s Bad Effort to Spin Abysmal Jobs Report). What followed was a laundry list of obfuscations and misleading claims.

As they say, lies, damned lies, and statistics.

This feels a lot like the Obama years, in that the president is taking objectively bad data and twisting it to make it sound like it wasn’t terrible. Take the unemployment rate, for example. Yes, it continues to hover just below 5%. Yet, that ignores that the unemployment rate is completely reliant on how many people are in the job pool. When people leave it, as masses did last month, the unemployment rate artificially drops. But that does not mean the true employment situation improved. Quite the opposite, which is why the labor force participation rate has always been a key factor.

Biden also mentions wages, but what good are wage increases when inflation is outpacing them? Most of the wage increases are driven by the labor shortage, which is fine, but we are talking mostly about people who were making $12/hr now making $15/hr. I’m all for businesses having to pay more to stay competitive, as long as it happens organically, but this isn’t organic. It’s an inflationary spike caused by massive government spending, largely on “temporary” entitlements.

The president also picks and chooses timeframes. In one breath, he cites a three-month period. In another, he cites his own presidency. When he dips back into the Trump presidency, he’s careful to exclude the months that did show booming jobs growth. Lastly, Biden claims that layoffs and firings are at their lowest level since 1997. Well, yes, that’s because we are in an artificially created labor shortage.

But look, the real question here isn’t whether Biden is lying and misleading with what he’s reading off the teleprompter about today’s report. Of course, he is. Rather, it’s whether anyone is buying what he’s selling. I’d posit that they aren’t, and that’s because inflation is such a personal measure for working-class people. All the lofty talk in the world won’t change the fact that gas is exploding in price, or that the grocery bill keeps growing bigger and bigger.

Americans, specifically those in the middle class that are neither rich nor get major entitlements, are feeling the crunch. They want to be able to drive without it costing $3.50 a gallon to fill their car up. They want to be able to buy a used car or take the vacation they’ve saved up for. Inflation is destroying their ability to do those things.

That leaves Republicans in the driver’s seat as we head into 2022. GOP candidates should be speaking directly to kitchen table issues, and there’s no bigger one than the economy. Biden can say whatever he wants, but he can’t hide the impact of his policies on normal Americans. That’s the opening that needs to be exploited.