Figures Don't Lie

Many years ago, my Uncle Wes was listening to a political commentary on the evening news. About halfway through the piece he got up, turned the TV off and told me: "Figures don't lie but liars sure can figure" This Blog is dedicated to setting things right about a few of the numbers tossed around in today's political discussions.

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Location: Bloomington, Minnesota, United States

How old am I? Well, for much of my career, I had a secretary. And, my best secretary could take shorthand.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Unemployment Numbers

I recently received a "chain" e-mail encouraging me to tell the evil Republicans to quit opposing the extension of unemployment benefits. I hastened to point out to the sender that Republicans weren't opposed to extending the benefits - they just thought that maybe they should be made out of something other than thin air.

Even Rush Limbaugh didn't oppose the concept:

RUSH: Right, but you look around and you don't see the ruling class showing even any concern about the people of Arizona and what they're going through. They don't show any concern for the people who are unemployed. They continue, in fact, to attack Republicans for not extending unemployment compensation benefits. And Scott Brown, God bless him. Scott Brown, Ted Kennedy's replacement in the Senate, the guy that won from the Republican Party in January, has come up with an alternative plan, as a Republican, to extend unemployment compensation benefits. And the Senate Democrats won't hear of it. They won't even talk to him about it. And poor old Scott Brown is saying, "Why is it that I'm always the one that has to vote with the Democrats?" I'm not making this up. ...

But I though it might be time for another look at the numbers. A little "forecast vs. actual" exercise:

But a look at this chart shows us a much greater concern.

Extending unemployment benefits and longer unemployment. Cause and Effect or Effect and Cause? You make the call!

Can't decide? Maybe this cartoon from Michael Ramirez will help.


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