The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

UPDATE: You Call This a ‘Recovery’?

Posted on | October 5, 2012 | 8 Comments

ABINGDON, Virginia
Mitt Romney spoke to a crowd of nearly 4,000 people here in a midday rally, where he emphasized for the coal industry, a vital part of the economy in southwest Virginia. There was a strong representation at the rally from the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE).

While at the rally, I got a chance to talk with an award-winning local reporter, Debra McCown, who explained that some 1,200 coal workers in the area had been laid off recently because of EPA regulations that have curbed the use of coal in electrical power plants. McCown explained that during the 2008 campaign, Obama made two trips to the area, as did his running mate Joe Biden, while John McCain’s only visit to the area was an airport stop at the Tri-Cities Airport in Sullivan County, Tennessee — just south of the Virginia border — the day before Election Day.

During his speech, Mitt got a cheer from the crowd when he mentioned the debate, and said that Obama’s statements during Wednesday’s debates were essentially “a reiteration of the status quo.” The biggest cheer during the entire rally was when Romney promised to repeal ObamaCare. Citing the latest employment report, Romney said, “We can do better.”

Ali Akbar gave me a ride to the event and has posted an entire Facebook page of photos from the rally.

UPDATE: Romney’s rapid response press operation is  already online with this video clip of Mitt’s speech at Abingdon:

“My priority is creating jobs. I will help small business do that with everything I can do. Now, we can do better. We don’t have to stay on the path we have been on. We can do better. There was a report that just came out this morning on job creation this last month. There were fewer new jobs created this month than last month. The unemployment rate, as you know, this year has come down very, very slowly, but it has come down nonetheless. The reason it has come down this year is primarily due to the fact that more and more people have just stopped looking for work. And if you just drop out of the workforce, if you just give up and say, look, I can’t go back to work, I’m just going to stay home, if you just drop out altogether, why, you’re no longer part of the employment statistics. So, it looks like unemployment is getting better, but the truth is if the same share of people were participating in the workforce today, as on the day the President got elected, our unemployment rate would be around 11%. That’s the real reality of what’s happening out there. And then, of course, even those that have jobs are having tough times. The middle class is being squeezed with higher and higher costs and with incomes that have gone down by $4,300 a family. This can’t go on. I’ll tell you this: when I’m President of the United States, when I’m President of the United States, that unemployment rate is going to come down, not because people are giving up and dropping out of the workforce, but because we are creating more jobs. I will create jobs and get America working again.”

The Left is now claiming that criticism of the economy — the decline in the official unemployment rate caused by people dropping out of the work force, a statistical oddity — is “job trutherism,” as if Jack Welch doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Look, I mentioned this same phenomenon, as demonstrated by recent reports of employment in Crawford County, Ohio, earlier this week:

Americans have become accustomed to this sort of “good news” in the Obama era, and there was more of it in that small-town Ohio paper. “Unemployment remains the same,” declared the headline across the top of the front page. The story explained that, although the official unemployment rate in Crawford County, Ohio (population 43,389) declined from 9 percent in July to 8 percent in August, it wasn’t because more people were working. “Since the number of employed stayed the same, 200 people went off of unemployment because their time limit is up and they have not found work yet,” Dave Williamson, director of the Crawford County Economic Development Partnership, told the Bucyrus paper. “We have no more people working than we did last month.”
Extrapolate such statistical hocus-pocus at the local level across the entire state of Ohio, or nationwide, and you understand how some people might be deceived into believing that the Obama administration has actually produced an economic recovery.

Statistics that “hide the decline” (i.e., the shrinking workforce, as more and more discouraged workers cease to be counted in the official unemployment number) do not fool anyone who actually looks at the underlying data. Anyone who is confused about this should consult James Pethokoukis at The American Enterprise Institute.