February 13, 2012
Can We Rely on the Executive Branch for Unsullied Data?
Some things just never seem to change from year to year, from decade to decade, or even from century to century. The great novelist Mark Twain, an unremitting source for timeless observations of the human condition, once summed up the problem that Americans of all political persuasions, ages, and income levels face when dealing with their own government: "There are lies, damned lies, and statistics." Poll after poll has shown the economy, and in particular the unemployment picture, as being the dominant issue in almost all political conversation. Everyone would agree that the key information needed for any sort of intelligent conversation is the unemployment rate. Lots of luck with that. As one of my professors in college once said in class, "there is data, and there is information. Never get those two things confused." The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) -- which, keep in mind, is part of the Department of Labor, which in turn is headed by the Honorable...(Read Full Article)