The World Is Upside Down - Part One

September 25, 2013

The earth isn’t cubed yet, like Bizarro World, but it increasingly seems to be upside down, inside out and moving backward instead of forward.

The fictional planet Htrae, aka Bizarro World, was invented by D.C. Comics as a comic spinoff from the typically stiff and serious world of Superman.  On Bizarro World, people would buy bonds to lose money and politicians would be put in charge because of their stupidity.  On Htrae, black is white and wrong is right.

Is Earth any different?  In today’s world, we have a President who “leads from behind.”  He snubs allies, but meets and negotiates with dictators, such as the president of Iran, who refuses to even shake his hand.

We have a United Nations that’s run by the thugs of the world.  The United Nations seems to exist to criticize the United States and Israel, even though America is its main source of funding and Israel is America’s ally.

Too Much Bizarroness

There’s too much Bizarroness to cover in a single blog post, but consider just one example:

When people stop looking for jobs, the unemployment rate goes down.  The unemployment rate has dropped from a high of about 10% to 7.3%.  That’s good news, right?

Well, it would be, except that the unemployment rate reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a fake.  The rate that’s widely reported by the BLS and media is the U-3 rate, which excludes people who have given up looking for work, but considers people who are working part-time as being employed.

If you worked an hour last week, according to U-3 stats, you’re employed.  If you’ve stopped looking for work because no one has hired you after a year of seeking employment, cheer up.  You’re no longer unemployed – you just don’t count anymore.

Since 2008, millions of Americans have either been unable to find work or have been desperate enough to take part-time jobs operating fryolators.  If millions more follow suit, the unemployment rate will be back down to 5% before you know it.

Media throughout the country pay close attention to the U-3 unemployment rate.  Some even take the time to explain that a drop in the rate isn’t necessarily good news, but many don’t.  Just before the election, when the U-3 rate miraculously fell below 8% for the first time in years because of a spike in part-time employment, there was more media cheering than there was skepticism about the timing.

The Real Unemployment Rate

The real unemployment rate – the U-6 rate – is 13.7%.  The U-6 rate counts part-timers and people who have given up looking for work as being unemployed.  The U-6 rate used to be widely reported, but that changed during the Clinton Administration.

Even more important than the unemployment rate, though, is the labor force participation rate.

In April, reported that the labor force participation rate had dropped to 63.3%, its lowest level since 1979.  The report noted that a record 90 million Americans are no longer even looking for work.

In August, in spite of much talk of economy recovery, the labor force participation rate had dropped to 63.2%.  But don’t worry.  The unemployment rate is down to 7.3%.

Government spending and quantitative easing are sure doing a great job of helping the economy – if you live in Bizzaro World.


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