Perlcat rants: The return of the Misery Index

by editor on May 9, 2011

Remember the Misery Index? The news media rolls it out during every conservative administration then mothballs it while Democrats are in office.

The Misery Index is defined as the inflation rate plus unemployment, and there’s no better way to put the public off than to associate the term “elevated misery” with them. It’s a great propaganda tool.

Natch, the misery index has been ignored during the reign of Chicago Jesus, but we thought that we ought to help the media do its job by whacking Barry in the kneecaps with these numbers.

jimmy-carter

Jimmy Carter, the personification of the Misery Index

Here’s a summary by president:

President, Misery

Carter, 16.26
Ford, 16.00
Reagan, 12.19
Bush I, 10.68
Nixon, 10.57
Barack Obama, 10.21
Bush II, 8.11
Truman, 7.88
Clinton, 7.80
Kennedy, 7.14
Johnson, 6.77
Eisenhower, 6.26

But wait. There’s something missing from that chart. What is it? Here’s a hint: What is the actual current unemployment rate?

The unemployment rate during Obama’s tenure has been strangely flat, because instead of reporting the number of people who are actually out of work, they’ve conveniently trimmed off the ones who have given up looking for work. If you add in all the people who’ve given up looking for work and those who are working at crappy part time jobs until things improve, analysts say the true unemployment rate is more like 22%.

Is this an accident? A statistical anomaly? We think not. The White House knows all about it. Austan Goolsbee thought it was dishonest when this happened to a much lesser extent during George Bush’s presidency, but now that he has a job at the Obama White House he thinks it’s a dandy technique:

“In fact, Austan Goolsbee, who is now part of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, wrote in a 2003 New York Times piece titled “The Unemployment Myth,” that the government had “cooked the books” by not correctly counting all the people it should, thereby keeping the
unemployment rate artificially low. At the time, Goolsbee was a professor at the University of Chicago. When asked whether Goolsbee still believes the government undercounts unemployment, a White House spokeswoman said Goolsbee wasn’t available to comment.”

Yep, that’s right. Austan Goolsbee is “unavailable for comment” now that Barack Obama is his boss.

So let’s do the job the media refuses to do, recalculate the Misery Index using the “real” unemployment rate, and take another look at that chart:

barack-obama

2009, inauguration as President of the United States. 2011, coronation as King of Misery.

President, Misery
Barack Obama, 25.00
Carter, 16.26
Ford, 16.00
Reagan, 12.19
Bush I, 10.68
Nixon, 10.57
Bush II, 8.11
Truman, 7.88
Clinton, 7.80
Kennedy, 7.14
Johnson, 6.77
Eisenhower, 6.26

Well, look what happens if you add in that number. We have us a new winner in the misery creation department!

Yes, Barack is the one we have been waiting for — the one who can lead us to our new destinations as serfs of the state.

Where’s my forty acres? Where’s my mule?

Repeat it after me: Barack Hussein Obama, King of Misery.

Sources: MiseryIndex.us, DailyFinance.com

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32 Comments on "Perlcat rants: The return of the Misery Index"

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alien
Guest

Well said

alien
Guest

Arrgh comment supposed to be @Warren

Jim Stewart
Member

Do any of you ever think we’re doing nothing more than rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic? We have a country buried in $14 trillion of debt with many more trillions in unfunded liabilities. Obama and Congress squabble over tenths of percentage points in reductions and that’s going to save us? What a laugh.

We have a nation rapidly approaching the point where the takers will out number the providers and then voting on tax hikes or spending reductions will be like two wolves and a sheep voting on the dinner menu.

I enjoy the stories and comments on IHTM from like-minded people. But then I read comments from liberals who persist in their total denial about the financial condition of the country. They say, “We’re not broke.” Or “we’re not taxed enough.” So I shake my head and realize we are not changing minds here. Truth and a balance sheet won’t work so what in the hell will it take? A real-life Atlas Shrugged?

I wonder if the misery index can accurately measure the damage that liberal thinking has done to this country?

Warren
Guest

I’ve heard that very much lately – along with the idea the world is going to end soon, WW3 is going to break out, A one world government will happen, we’ll get nuked to hell and back…. But I also remember hearing the same stories as a kid, in the 79/80 right as Reagan took office. I also know, from studying history, that these same thoughts and ideas have crept up throughout the ages. Every-time the world sees a down turn people start to wonder if we are all sinking fast. That isn’t to say that doom doesn’t happen and heck it could very well happen in our lifetimes. Yet –

If the USA is taken out of the picture, the world will be in worse shape than it already is. IF our debts are called in, where will countries like China get most of it’s income? Unfortunately we are the consumers of much of the world wide product. They could call in the debts but that would also mean they’d be slashing their own throats.

As much as I understand the feeling of unease and Apocalyptic thinking, the USA has been through times like this before. We will either make it through them again or we won’t – I choose to believe we will make it. The media and the world has tried so hard to make Americans believe the very worst about themselves that many are falling for the lies. Yet sites like this (among others) Prove that the American spirit still lives on. The same one that got us through the Revolution, the war of 1812, the Civil war, the depression and reconstrution after the war. The same one that got us through ww1 and prohbition and ww2. The same that withstood the sixties and seventies while bringin in the optimistic 80s. It is really easy to listen to coworkers/friends/random people on the itnernet and think we are just running in to icebergs – but we’ve been there before. Americans, despite the flaws they have, will figure out a way to patch up the ship and we’ll keep selling until Kingdom Come.

That is my belief anyway. I came to this after a long time of doubts about the USA as a whole, motivated by the last couple of years of Bush’s presidency and the election of 2008. Americans, if anything, are optimists in the darkest times. I think we need to bring some of that back, hunker down, and sing while the storm is a’blowin’.

DeanH
Member

Well anyway, on with the pleasantries; nice work, Perlcat. We have arrived at a place where we never expect less from you!

perlcat
Member

Thanks!

hisham
Guest

I’m miserable just hearing all of your gallows humor about all this Misery. It’s a damn shame we can’t [redacted by admin, can’t say that Hisham] and find ourselves a replacement who will be a little more willing to listen to the vast majority of us “Les Miserables” rather than kiss the ring finger of the puppet master who’s behind all this current misery. Barry isn’t smart enough to cause all of this misery and mayhem all by himself!

hisham
Guest

Okay, Mr. Admin. I’ll be more…ummm…careful…in the future.

Buck O'Fama
Guest

So the Obama era is approximately 1.5 times as miserable as that of Jimmy Peanuts? Yeah, I’d say AT A MINIMUM.

perlcat
Member

Just wait for the inflation. He’s gonna set a record. The stats did not go back to FDR, but if he does his thing, and inflation gets going, we’re talking Nobel Prize-winning misery…

whiskeyriver
Guest

Ok, I’ll try to explain this one more time so everyone here can understand what a farce the government unemployment numbers are.

The unemployment numbers we get from the gooberment only show how many people APPLIED for unemployment insurance. People who have run out of unemployment benefits are not counted. Welfare patients that have never worked are not counted. People who are getting SSI because of injuries or illness, real or imagined, are not counted. Your local handyman, who does your yardwork or cleans your gutters, for cash, is not counted when you don’t need your grass mowed or your gutters cleaned out. The list goes on and on but hopefully ya’ll get my point.

Based on life, reality, what I see every day, I would say the true unemployment rate in our country is closer to 30% than it is to 20%. And that is a number ALL the elected fools in Washington do not want published. It’s much safer for them to quote false numbers based on how many applied for unemployment benefits.

perlcat
Member

That’s the problem with reporting on the metrics that can embarrass you. A more ethical group (Washington, ethical? HA! I kill myself sometimes) would let the numbers go where they will — but then they can’t water them down to appear to be helping anyone other than themselves.

Always happy to show their true numbers — even though even those are watered down, they at least show how if Washington can’t succeed, they lower the bar, and if that still fails, then they circle the wagons and freeze out the reporters that might actually have an interest in reporting.

whiskeyriver
Guest

Maybe we should apply for an “educational” grant so we could afford to take time off from work, at least a year, to travel the country and get a true picture of how many are unemployed.

A few bottles of Sneaky Pete spread around the city slums, a few bottles of Copita here and there, a round or two bought in the local beer joints, it might amaze, or scare the hell out of, everyone if the real numbers on unemployment were put up on the world wide web!

perlcat
Member

You had me at “Sneaky Pete”.

Tastes just as bad going down as it did coming up the first time.

whiskeyriver
Guest

MD-20 20 perl! It was better than nothing when we kids couldn’t afford a bottle of the good stuff. Like Boones Farm Strawberry Hill or Wild Mountain Grape!

perlcat
Member

The wife likes that stuff. She also likes ye olde ManySchitz. They taste just like Russian communion wine, or so I am told. Too sweet for me.

Myself, I like a good Australian fighting wine. Cooper’s Crossing isn’t too bad at $3 a bottle, and the nice screwtop isn’t too difficult to manage.

Back in the day, where we grew up, you could buy 50 ft of copper tubing without having a fed follow you home, so some of the homebrew had a kick.

alien
Guest

There’s a temporal element to the “real” unemployment figures. The trajectory of an individual through the official metrics (collecting unemployment ins. etc) into the despairing Real Not-looking-for-Work-Anymore phase takes considerable time. I’d be interested in seeing a progression of the Misery w/Real (miseReal..) numbers over time, particular in years before and after transition from Bush-to-Obama administrations

(Perlcat, its cool you are getting a regular platform here)

perlcat
Member

Yep, the numbers would be higher for Bush Jr, by quite a bit — causing Mr. Goolsbee a moral quandary that he seems to haven gotten over quite well. I guess a regular paycheck helps.

I hope to have some good stuff, for varying evaluations of the term ‘good’. 😉

The Dogfather
Guest

I don’t know that I’d fully agree with the math presented here in the piece. I mean, blasting the rampant underreporting is one thing, but then to account for everyone w/o a full-time job… and come up with 22%, seems a bit like doing the same thing in the opposite direction. Not debating the overarching theme of the piece, but the devil is in the details. Certainly the BHO administraion is pulling the exact same s-h-i-t that others have done. So much for the most transparent administration in history. The only thing the Audacity of Dope has made plain is how much it doesn’t care about anything but expanding Fed power.

perlcat
Member

Well, I just reported the number I found. It really is that high.

Olivia
Member

So much for the most transparent administration in history. The only thing the Audacity of Dope has made plain is how much it doesn’t care about anything but expanding Fed power.

***************

What specific expansions of federal power has Obama made, at the expense of individuals’ rights and civil liberties?

DJ
Guest

I remember the Misery Index as well.

The real annihilation will come once inflation and hyperinflation really kicks in. We already have inflation, but they are trying to suppress it, however food and commodities have ramped up, like many Americans have been discovering.

Captain Zero and Co (read Helicopter Ben Bernanke, Turbo Tax Timmy & CONgress), have spent us into the stratosphere. When the day of reckoning comes and it will, all hell will break loose.

My uneducated guess is that they won’t be able to hide it very well by Election Day 2012…hopefully Obama will be defeated on those grounds, if nothing else.
Either way, the looming catastrophe will come after the election, so even if we have a new President next election, that person will have to deal with the aftermath of Obama and the District of Criminals spending.

Ruben
Member

My prediction a week ago that Buckaroo Hussein Obama would enjoy a two-week bounce and ride from killing OBL may be wrong. Hope you enjoyed a nice week, Mr. President, because it’s going downhill for you very quickly. People are still awake and when you yammer about how drilling for oil won’t make a difference; how expensive and subsidized ‘green’ energy is the answer; how you are working to undermine our rights; to impose nationalized healthcare, acceptance of homosexuals upon the military and any other number of left-wing social experiments, it’s going to backfire.

http://thehill.com/polls/159867-security-effects-from-bin-laden-death-unclear-

perlcat
Member

It’s all his different versions of the “truth”. After so many different numbers of wives used as a human shield, the weapon dis/reappearing in his belligerent/inept/cowardly hand, and all the credit claiming/disavowal depending upon the audience, the collective public just shrugged and said “you’re so full of sh*t we don’t know what to believe.”

That’s a bad thing to have people say about you when you need their trust.

A muddy or confusing message is worse than no message at all. I bet Barry’s p*ssed now that he actually went and made a decision (for once), it turned out far better than he’d hoped, and the credit for it is slipping away.

Olivia
Member

A muddy or confusing message is worse than no message at all. I bet Barry’s p*ssed now that he actually went and made a decision (for once), it turned out far better than he’d hoped, and the credit for it is slipping away.

********

Well, first of all, he doesn’t use the name “Barry.” Do you think that referring to him by such dismissive nicknames enhances your credibility?

Second, “I bet thus and such” is a euphemism for “I’m getting ready to make an unfounded accusation.” What you “bet” is entirely beside the point. OF COURSE you “bet” Obama is conceited and dishonest, because that’s what you want to believe. It’s easy to “bet” a million dollars in cyberspace, since you never have to suffer any real consequences, once your belief is shown to be absolutely untrue.

Third, where are you getting the idea that Obama himself generated the inconsistencies that have come out concerning this event? I don’t see anything “muddy or confusing” about the report that bin Laden is dead, do you? And that our own Navy Seals killed him? And that Obama (however much you hate and scorn him) was the Commander in Chief who gave the green light for the mission? You’re quibbling about differences in recollection, most likely because you’re trying to avoid giving credit to a president you hate.

perlcat
Member

Hmmm. Let’s see. The odds of my convincing you of anything? zero. Odds of my having a good time saying whatever I want? 100%. Odds on it harming Obama’s presidency? Well, people still love Jimmy Carter, so I’d have to say, “Roger that, Captain Zero”. Odds on it harming my credibility? Very poor — either people like me or they hate me. If I stuck to a different nickname for him (I apply nicknames to a lot of people — I work with Rain Man, Landfill, Mary*, and Happy Meal, for instance) it would have less recognition.

Second — it is *also* a figure of speech. “Sometimes a cigar’s just a cigar”, don’t you know. Lighten up.

Third. His administration reflects upon him and his character, as we have seen through press coverage of multiple presidents. This is why they have things like press secretaries to spin things the way they want. If you believe that the changing reports about UBL’s death are somehow a consistent message, you’ve got an interesting mind. There is a *lot* of confusion about what exactly happened, and a lot of people want every single detail. Not me — I think it’s gross.

But when people keep pressing, and there are subtle and not-so-subtle differences in the telling, people get the idea that the truth is not part of this message. The truth is a relatively simple thing — either they did, or they didn’t. Possibly, they just don’t know. However, when things are either not fully known and people are running their mouths, or things *are* known and are embarrassing, then we get something like this. This especially with a president so obsessed about controlling his message in the press that he’s resorted to freezing out reporters that don’t toe the line. There are significant comeuppance risks with that strategy.

At some point, his favorable press will turn on him thanks to that particular behavior. They are a fickle friend as a whole, hungry for the ratings that have eroded to where advertisers are leaving in droves. Once it starts, he will be unable to get much done.

If you want my honest opinion, (and why should you — it’s not approved by you), they didn’t really know what happened, they tried to fill in the blanks in order to appear knowledgeable and in control, and now they’re getting hoisted by their own petard. Given that I’ve seen this happen to Republican president after president, I just think it’s funny.

There will be comedy gold in this presidency for the next fifty years — a better comedy haul than the entire Carter Administration — so in a sense, I’m grateful to him — especially since so much of the humor is “off limits”, so we can be the only ones using it.

*Mary is called Mary because just like in “Something About Mary”, all the guys like to hang around her. It is more of an annoyance, but she likes the nick.

Olivia
Member

If you want my honest opinion, (and why should you — it’s not approved by you), they didn’t really know what happened, they tried to fill in the blanks in order to appear knowledgeable and in control, and now they’re getting hoisted by their own petard.

***************

If I couldn’t tolerate hearing right wing opinions, I’d be mighty silly to visit or post on an obviously right wing forum.

In any case, dreaming up a scenario that’s gratifying to you isn’t the same thing as expressing an opinion. That’s what’s called making it up as you go along. And I agree with you that that can be fun to do—–but it’s rather inconsistent for you to do it while accusing Obama’s administration of telling stories.

kb
Member

yawn

DeanH
Member

He did go by Barry for years.

deepthinker
Member

Is anyone here suprised that the numbers are being played with? It’s so barry can look like he’s actually doing something and things are not so bad.

I wish I could just not count my home mortage when I’m doing my budget and savings. What a load of crap and the MSM is carrying the water for barry and crew.

Warren
Guest

Pretty sad that even with the ‘played with’ numbers, the economy still looks like crap and the unemployment numbers are still pretty high. Go figure.

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