Lying Government Officials

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Government officials sometimes tell the truth by mistake, but not often. Take the unemployment rate, which fell from 9.7% to 9.5% because 652,000 discouraged people stopped actively looking for work. It was Bill Clinton who changed the way unemployment is calculated, to subtract discouraged workers who are, of course, unemployed. Without his lie, the rate would be more than 21%, and even that understates the jobs effect of the depression. Such scams are bipartisan, of course. Reagan took purchased housing out of the CPI because it was going up too fast. There are a bunch of finagles in both these stats, to make the government look less bad, and to fool the people.

12:39 pm on July 2, 2010