Czar of lies 10

Oh-oh, czar of fraud and czar of blight,

Czar of lies as black as night!

Why would Obama want to appoint a political ally to head the Bureau of Labor Statistics?

An unsurprising explanation comes from PJ Media, by Richard Pollock:

On the eve of the 2012 election, the White House is pushing to politicize the impartial U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The administration is also trying to bypass the congressional oversight that protects the independence of the neutral agency.

The BLS is the nation’s premier nonpartisan statistical agency reporting on the state of the American labor market. For more than a century, both political parties have considered BLS to be independent and politically untouchable.

The BLS monthly unemployment data is a key factor contributing to the president’s unpopularity.

Over the last year, the administration has refused to fill the two top BLS positions. …

The labor secretary and deputy secretary … made it clear that they wanted someone of their choosing from outside the existing career cadre. …

This has led to speculation that the White House is trying to circumvent the Senate so as to appoint a deputy whose position does not need Senate confirmation, and who would defer to the White House and to politically aggressive Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.

One source told PJ Media the president would like to install Betsey Stevenson as the deputy commissioner. Stevenson is a Princeton academic and loyal political ally who worked as chief economist for Solis. Stevenson would be rejected by many in the Senate, which has regarded political allies as inappropriate for running the nonpartisan BLS.

Although the meddling with the BLS has received little coverage, economists and Republicans in Congress are decrying the effort. Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor under the Bush administration, called the administration’s tactics “outrageous.” She told PJ Media that meddling with the BLS personnel process could be a prelude to eventual tampering with unemployment surveys and results. …

In a November 29 letter to Secretary Solis, Senator Michael Enzi (R-WY) — ranking Republican on the Senate Labor Committee — expressed alarm over the administration’s handling of personnel at the bureau. He warned it would be counterproductive to try to politicize the bureau through appointments that circumvent Senate confirmation: “To have credibility, an agency must be free — and perceived to be free — of political interference and policy advocacy.” …

The administration’s job description for the deputy position illustrates the administration’s politicization effort — rather than emphasize the independent status of the post, it states the deputy commissioner will be “assisting the Secretary of Labor in presenting the Department’s interests and policies to Congress, other government agencies, and the public.” In other words: instead of an independent official, the deputy commissioner would be an advocate for administration positions.

To be plain, the appointee would be a Czar of Lies.   

 

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According to this report and analysis by Tom Blumer, the manipulation of figures has already started in the Census Bureau:

The Census Bureau’s recently created “Supplemental Poverty Measure” (SPM) looks like a ruse to artificially show economic and poverty-reducing improvement in time for the 2012presidential election. Longer-term, it appears to be a rigged mechanism for demonstrating how ObamaCare … is a resounding success.

SPM radically redefines what it means to be “low income,” in the process adding almost 40 million more people to that category in 2010 compared to the number in the bureau’s official income and poverty report.

The only problem that matters to Barack Obama and his reelection team is the political impact of the official poverty rate. During the supposed era of Hope and Change, the rate has stubbornly and sharply increased. In 2007, the year before the arrival of what I have been calling the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) economy since mid-2008, that official rate was 12.5%, about the same as the previous four years. After increasing to 13.2% in 2008, it zoomed to 14.3% in 2009. When it hit 15.1% in 2010, it meant that the administration’s supposedly brilliant set of Keynesian policies had essentially taken us back to where we were in the early 1990s. The official poverty rate seems virtually assured to increase yet again when the bureau releases its results in September 2012, at which point the rate will likely be higher than at any time since the mid-1960s.

To be clear, the problem from Team Obama’s perspective isn’t that more and more people are living in economic misery. … The real problem is that the American people have learned that more and more of their fellow citizens are economically miserable. Even worse, they will have that message reinforced less than two months before Election Day 2012 — unless something is done about how poverty is measured and reported.

For years the left wanted figures to show as many poor people as possible.

Now suddenly they want the numbers to go down.

Enter SPM. The irony of its creation is more than a little hard to take. After decades during which leftists ridiculed conservatives and others who validly criticized official poverty measurements for excluding obvious items like the value of non-cash government benefits such as food stamps and traditional welfare from available resources, all of a sudden effective in 2009 the administration tasked the Census Bureau with developing SPM, which incorporates those and similar items into its measurement base.

But SPM … arbitrarily deducts a number of expenses from income to arrive at a new “resource measure” …  then compares that new “resource measure” to a clearly higher poverty threshold than the bureau has officially used for almost 50 years … [so] when next year’s SPM report comes out, millions of Americans will no longer be “low income” under its framework. I can imagine the campaign verbiage already: “Barack Obama … singlehandedly moved millions into the middle class … undoing much of the damage of the past decade’s misguided policies.”

As to the ObamaCare gambit: State-run health care will very visibly and quickly remove most medical out-of-pocket expenses from millions of Americans. In return, of course, we know from experience in other countries that they’ll have longer waits for care, be subject to rationing, receive lower quality care, and see a virtual end to medical innovation. But those things won’t be as immediately visible. Thus, ObamaCare will in its early years appear to almost painlessly move millions more from SPM’s “low income” category into the middle class. Again, thanks to artifice, Obama will look like a hero.

It must be nice to be able to create your own customized measurement to arrive at the conclusions you want.

As Mark Twain said that Disraeli said, there are three degrees of lies:  Lies, damned lies, and statistics.