Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dark clouds over America - 3 million poor souls not worth counting

I came across the following video at one of my regular financial haunts, Danielle Park’s Juggling Dynamite. You may remember Danielle as the ethical financial advisor.

The interviewee is economist Stephen Roach. (That reminds me of a joke about economists, but I digress). Mr. Roach works for Morgan Stanley and after listening to him in this interview my opinion of Morgan Stanley has gone up a couple of notches. Mr. Roach rightly points out that the unemployment figures released recently of 9.7% take no account of the three million U.S. citizens who have given up looking for a job. “For some bizarre reason,” says Mr. Roach, “the U.S. statisticians do not count these poor souls as unemployed.” The actual unemployment rate is 11.5%.

So not only are detainees ‘not persons’, neither are the discouraged jobless. What happened to equality and justice?

Speaking of justice, Mr. Roach ironically ends his analysis with the injunction that, because of the ‘noise’ in the unemployment data, “It’s important for your viewers to keep watching the pithy commentators you get on your show for clarity, truth and justice.”

In other words, don’t expect it from your administration’s statisticians. Damn, I like that guy.

OK, here is my economist joke, but in honour to Mr. Roach, let’s make it a statistician joke instead, it’s much more à propos:

There are three kinds of government statisticians: those who can count, and those who can’t.

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Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)

Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)
Kiyomizudera Temple has a large veranda looking out over Kyoto and beyond