Saturday, June 6, 2009

Analysis and Reality

There are any number of signs of just how bad things are. However, when it comes to chutzpah, you cannot beat those official proclamations that the rate at which things are getting worse is not as high as it has previously been. The best example of this came in a Reuters report about unemployment filed by Lucia Mutikani:

The Labor Department said on Friday that U.S. employers cut 345,000 jobs in May, the fewest since September and far less than economists had forecast. They cut 504,000 jobs in April.

If the Labor Department really believes that this is any sort of improvement, then they need to muster the courage to say that to those 345,000 who lost their jobs in May; and it would take more than a little chutzpah to pull off such an act. To be fair, however, it is not just the Labor Department that is indulging in this reality-denying desperation in search of good news. Their analysts are aided and abetted by any number of economic and investment analysts, equally desperate for good news to fuel their confidence games and in command of no end of spin rhetoric to convince us all that "prosperity is just around the corner" (in the words of a President who was eventually voted out of office for invoking that phrase more than once too often). So, in the interest of sharing the wealth (so to speak), this week's Chutzpah of the Week award goes to the collective of not only the Labor Department but all those others who are determined to sail under its flag of false optimism while, as Mutikani observed, the recession is now in its eighteenth month and has been responsible for the lost of some six million jobs.

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