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More Fox News Spin? Comparing unemployment numbers between Presidents.

somepeoplesay

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I've always thought it was interesting how numbers can be used to justify a point. Republican pollster Frank Luntz said it best when he outlined how polls can be bent and twisted to achieve a narrative, and how different responses can be illicited depending on how a question is worded. In this case, it is not a poll or survey being used, but some wonky mathematics.

Here is a chart used in a segment on Fox & Friends this week, comparing unemployment numbers between Republican and Democratic administrations.



Notice anything that doesn't quite add up? Well, if memory serves, George Bush walked away with an unemployment rate higher then 5.3% and Reagan had unemployment rates up to 10% during the 80's recession. That's because they are averages, and I think we all know that one and a half years compared to 4 or 8 years isn't really a fair estimate.

My personal opinion is that this isn't a big deal. Hell, I expect this sort of thing from Fox, but it's just one more reminder that numbers can be deceiving.
 

Josie

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How else would you create the table?
 

RightinNYC

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Numbers can certainly be deceiving, and employment numbers in particular are terrible for measuring presidents, but how is this misleading aside from that? The fact that Obama's only been in there for a year and a half is irrelevant, as its an average.

If this were a criticism of the use of employment numbers to judge presidents in general, I'd be on board, but it's something I've seen employed with great enthusiasm by both sides when they think it will benefit them. This is no worse than normal.
 

obvious Child

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How else would you create the table?
With highest. Sure, Fox did state across the full presidency, but that's still not exactly honest. Calculating averages over 4 and 8 year spans and then comparing them to 2 years is not apples and oranges. A better method and more honest would be averages of the first two years of the presidents named. Or even better would be two years average of economic recessions during their presidencies'.

It's kind of like comparing the annual profits of CEOs, except that the numbers of others were over their full terms rather then a few years.
 

obvious Child

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Numbers can certainly be deceiving, and employment numbers in particular are terrible for measuring presidents, but how is this misleading aside from that? The fact that Obama's only been in there for a year and a half is irrelevant, as its an average.
I'd hardly call that irrelevant. The other presidents' have the benefit of having bad years averaged out with good years. What we are seeing with Fox's chart is Obama having only bad years being shown. As the link I provided shows, many presidents have pretty awful years and months. Effectively, the other presidents have smoothing being done on their numbers where Obama has no such benefit. IMO, a better chart would either be highest unemployment, or two years sampling that are similar to each other.
 

RightinNYC

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I'd hardly call that irrelevant. The other presidents' have the benefit of having bad years averaged out with good years. What we are seeing with Fox's chart is Obama having only bad years being shown. As the link I provided shows, many presidents have pretty awful years and months. Effectively, the other presidents have smoothing being done on their numbers where Obama has no such benefit. IMO, a better chart would either be highest unemployment, or two years sampling that are similar to each other.
Highest unemployment isn't a good number either, as it doesn't really reflect the totality of the situation and is affected by whether the president had a 4 or an 8 year term. My point is that unemployment numbers are **** for judging a president, no matter how you look at them. Despite that, news organizations and partisans have no problem throwing them around as if they're conclusive proof of a president's value. IMO, this use of the numbers is no worse than any other.
 

obvious Child

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Highest unemployment isn't a good number either, as it doesn't really reflect the totality of the situation and is affected by whether the president had a 4 or an 8 year term. My point is that unemployment numbers are **** for judging a president, no matter how you look at them. Despite that, news organizations and partisans have no problem throwing them around as if they're conclusive proof of a president's value. IMO, this use of the numbers is no worse than any other.
Well, at least highest unemployment does give us an apples to apples comparison that strips out smoothing. That in itself is superior to what Fox did. While I agree that utilization of such numbers is pretty bad, at least a proper equal sampling should be done.

Besides, we both know what Fox is trying to do with this chart.
 

apdst

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The unemployment numbers aren't just an indictment of Obama, but and idictment of Democrat leadership as a whole, since the highest uemployment numbers on that table occured under Democrat controlled congresses.
 

CaptainCourtesy

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The unemployment numbers aren't just an indictment of Obama, but and idictment of Democrat leadership as a whole, since the highest uemployment numbers on that table occured under Democrat controlled congresses.
As are the lowest.
 

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Was it even necessary to make a bar graph to begin with? Anyone that understands basic economics already knows that Obama will have the worst unemployment of any president. Maybe I'm wrong and you really can get a job from a moocher.
 

CaptainCourtesy

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Was it even necessary to make a bar graph to begin with? Anyone that understands basic economics already knows that Obama will have the worst unemployment of any president. Maybe I'm wrong and you really can get a job from a moocher.
Actually, anyone who understands basic economics knows that it would be impossible to predict, exactly, what unemployment will look like in 2 years.
 

upsideguy

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The unemployment numbers aren't just an indictment of Obama, but and idictment of Democrat leadership as a whole, since the highest uemployment numbers on that table occured under Democrat controlled congresses.
....and so are the lowest unemployment numbers as the Democrats controlled congress for substantially all of the period delineated. That all said, it is generally held that the President, as the chief policy maker and the guy that appoints the fed chair, controls the treasury and pretty much controls the budget, at least from a pragmatic standpoint, is generally held responsible for the state of the economy, much to the chagrin of our very conservative friends.
 
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obvious Child

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....and so are the lowest unemployment numbers as the Democrats controlled congress for substantially all of the period delineated. That all said, it is generally held that the President, as the chief policy maker and the guy that appoints the fed chair, controls the treasury and pretty much controls the budget, at least from a pragmatic standpoint, is generally held responsible for the state of the economy, much to the chagrin of our very conservative friends.
A better (but not good) example would be the affiliation of the Federal Chairman during the periods in question. People with brains know that fiscal policy is far less useful then monetary.
 

apdst

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....and so are the lowest unemployment numbers as the Democrats controlled congress for substantially all of the period delineated. That all said, it is generally held that the President, as the chief policy maker and the guy that appoints the fed chair, controls the treasury and pretty much controls the budget, at least from a pragmatic standpoint, is generally held responsible for the state of the economy, much to the chagrin of our very conservative friends.
OMG! So, now the Federal Chairman controls unemployment? That's even more rediculous than the notion that the government can create jobs and wealth.
 

obvious Child

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OMG! So, now the Federal Chairman controls unemployment? That's even more rediculous than the notion that the government can create jobs and wealth.
Uh not controls, and which he did not state. And yes, the Fed Chairman likely has more impact upon unemployment then the president. The capacity to quickly change the lifeblood of the economy, leverage costs has truly epic impacts upon business. Much of the good years of Bush are attributed to cheap credit under Greenspan. And Volcker was able to engineer an artificial recession under Reagan in his war on inflation. Furthermore, monetary policy can change interest rates overnight. Fiscal policy takes months, if not years. One of the Governors of the Fed stated that the 2001 recession was over a month before Bush's stimulus/tax cuts was passed. Fiscal policy to those with brains always lags behind monetary.

You really, really, really should not talk about economics.

As for government creating jobs and wealth, how do you think the defense industry got so fat and happy? You are directly calling the growth of companies like Raytheon and Lockheed Martin "ridiculous."
 
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Conservative

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Uh not controls, and which he did not state. And yes, the Fed Chairman likely has more impact upon unemployment then the president. The capacity to quickly change the lifeblood of the economy, leverage costs has truly epic impacts upon business. Much of the good years of Bush are attributed to cheap credit under Greenspan. And Volcker was able to engineer an artificial recession under Reagan in his war on inflation. Furthermore, monetary policy can change interest rates overnight. Fiscal policy takes months, if not years. One of the Governors of the Fed stated that the 2001 recession was over a month before Bush's stimulus/tax cuts was passed. Fiscal policy to those with brains always lags behind monetary.

You really, really, really should not talk about economics.

As for government creating jobs and wealth, how do you think the defense industry got so fat and happy? You are directly calling the growth of companies like Raytheon and Lockheed Martin "ridiculous."
Still trying to boost the Presidency of this empty suit, I see. Tell me what Obama has done to promote the private sector job creation? The current unemployment rate shows over 16 million unemployed and discouraged workers and any job creation has been in the public sector, not the private sector. Too many people continue to buy the rhetoric and ignore the results. No business is going to hire people with the uncertainty of taxes, healthcare costs, and now cap and trade.

What Obama is showing is he was totally unprepared to be in the Oval Office as predicted. He is a campaigner and not a leader. Those that want to point out the 10+% unemployment of Reagan are the same people that call this the worst economy since the Depression. That doesn't compute but nothing else that this empty suit and his supporters say does.

It is about economic policy and the best way out of recession. Reagan got it right, promote the private sector and grow your way out of the recession. Obama believes you can spend your way out of recession and thus is promoting public sector growth. The two policies are stark contrasts and the results are quite telling. We currently have a 3.8 trillion dollar Federal budget and a 13 trillion dollar govt.. Govt. revenue is down, GDP growth is stagnant, and govt growth is unsustainable. When the left is complaining about "their" President you know things are bad. Some here will never get it


"If you poll lower than George Bush in Louisiana following Katrina, that gives a whole new meaning to ‘hope and change.’” Dr. Charles Krauthammer, FOX News commenting on recent Louisiana poll results asking who responded better? Bush/Katrina – 50% approval, Obama/Oil Spill - 35%, Undecided - 15%.
 
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somepeoplesay

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When Bush inherits Clinton's economic surplus, it's Bush's economy. When Obama inherits Bush's dismembered economy, it's Obama's economy. The guys only been in office for a year and a half, give me break. Conservatives blamed Clinton for 9/11, and they have no right bitching about people who still blame Bush.
 

Conservative

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When Bush inherits Clinton's economic surplus, it's Bush's economy. When Obama inherits Bush's dismembered economy, it's Obama's economy. The guys only been in office for a year and a half, give me break. Conservatives blamed Clinton for 9/11, and they have no right bitching about people who still blame Bush.
Right blame Bush, that is what liberals always do, campaign instead of leading. Bush inherited the Clinton recession but didn't complain about it. Any surplus that Clinton had was because of SS revenue being on budget and any surplus was wiped out by 9/11 or did you forget?

It is you that needs to give me a break, stop defending this empty suit and realize what he is doing to this economy and thus YOUR future. How long does Obama have to be in office before he accepts responsibility for his own actions. He was in Congress and voted for the Bush spending and helped do nothing after the Democrats took control of Congress in 2007. Has Obama made things better or worse since taking office. Unemployment was 11 million and now it is over 15 million, debt was 10.6 trillion and is now over 13 trillion, Budget was 3.5 trillion and is now 3.8 trillion. How much damage are you going to allow to happen before speaking up about the actions of this President?
 

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When Bush inherits Clinton's economic surplus, it's Bush's economy. When Obama inherits Bush's dismembered economy, it's Obama's economy. The guys only been in office for a year and a half, give me break. Conservatives blamed Clinton for 9/11, and they have no right bitching about people who still blame Bush.
Something you and the other Obama supporters need to think about. Hope you have the guts to read.

Dorothy Rabinowitz: The Alien in the White House - WSJ.com
 

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Right blame Bush, that is what liberals always do, campaign instead of leading. Bush inherited the Clinton recession but didn't complain about it.
Really Bush did not complain about the Clinton Administration?
WASHINGTON _ President Bush argues that the nation's economic problems began on his predecessor's watch, but analysts say sooner or later they will all belong to him.

Article: Bush blames Clinton administration for economic slowdown.(The Dallas... | AccessMyLibrary - Promoting library advocacy
Justified or not I certainly would call that complaining. BTW the recession did not start untill 2 months after Bush took office..
 

Aunt Spiker

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And Clinton blame his predecessor . . . and so on.

In the last few months I read a lot of archived articles in which this was done - apparently it's common practice which is just on the rise, but it's not *new*
 
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