Americans believe things


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Well, that explains last week’s election…


Why next you’re going to tell me that Americans think we have the best health care system in the world and that they think Ebola is more dangerous than the flu.


agreed, but unemployment is in fact much higher then 6% unless you believe in changing the meaning of what unemployment is to make the numbers seem better.


And thusly, we have statistical evidence of the Fox effect. Thanks, Rupert!


I’m not sure that the unemployment measure is as distorted as these people claim; when people think “unemployed” they aren’t usually interested in an economist’s technical definitions. Even those are of several types: varying from 3.3 to 12.5%. Even the broadest measure, U6, doesn’t cover all the people I personally would think of as unemployed.

The teenage mother figure may also be caused by people knowing of teenage abortions and pregnancy scares.

As to murders and Muslims, it may be just ignorance.


Lost the battle, not the war. Give us two more years and we can make those Italians look like freakin’ Einsteins.


I’m going to have to take exception to this one. The way the US government calculates unemployment figures is worse than meaningless – it’s downright misleading. If a person gets disheartened and gives up (or runs out of places to look) they are removed from the statistic. If you do the calculation (and people have) looking at people who want to work but aren’t, the number is actually pretty close to that 30%.

In this case, the population is a hell of a lot more perceptive than their government handlers and their statistical spin-masters.


A nit to pick: (from Cory’s blurb) ignorance is not the same as believing things that aren’t true. The former is lack of knowledge (or understanding). The latter is knowing too much.

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Citation needed for 30%.

I can find reasonable looking measures for something like 12%.


Of course, we Americans have a government which benefits from these beliefs…


See, if -you- do the calculation you will be able to actually provide us the number your argument is predicated on, rather than leaving it up to your audience to calculate with your imaginary formulae.

I’m not disagreeing with your point, I AM asking you to finish making it.


True, though they’re still off by a lot. The salient point is that Americans don’t know a lot about their own country, and this is bad because, in a democracy, ignorance carries political consequences.

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It was a bad question. Unemployment is measured in all kinds of different ways. The measures are called U1, U2, U3, U4, U5, and U6. The most often reported number is U3.

The disheartened people you are talking about are included in U4, U5, and U6.


If you believe American unemployment is only 6%, you’re just as ignorant as the people being polled. 32% is also low — if you’re measuring underemployment.


It really is amazing how almost all of these false beliefs tend to be the kinds of beliefs that sway people into electing more conservative leaders.

There’s too much immigration: we need tighter borders.
There are millions of Muslims and fewer and fewer Christians: Christianity is under attack on all sides and Sharia Law is coming.
Too many teenagers are getting pregnant: sex education and condoms cause teen pregnancy.
Everyone’s unemployed: we need to give business a tax break to bring back dem jerbs.
High murder rates: we need candidates who will lock up all the thugs.

People always say that Republicans are better at the “message” than Democrats (e.g. hardly anyone knew that the unemployment rate was under 6% coming into this past election), but I don’t think it’s the messengers, I think it’s the message itself.

Fear will always be retained more than hope. You hear one news item that murders are down, and one news item about a grizzly murder, the grizzly murder sticks with you. Ditto on unemployment, terrorists, etc.

And, for all their old “Morning in America” shtick, Republicans have always been the party of Fear.


Yes, there is vast conspiracy by the government to cover up these numbers!
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Table A-15. Alternative measures of labor underutilization

That is quite an ambiguous number…
With regards to underemployment, they do offer this estimate:
Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization for States

In addition to the marginally attached, who are included in U-5, involuntary part-time workers are included in U-6. The larger the difference between U-5 and U-6, the higher the incidence of this form of "underemployment." Arizona and California had the largest gaps between their U-5 and U-6 rates, +6.4 percentage points each, followed by Oregon, +6.3 points. North Dakota had the smallest difference between its U-5 and U-6 measures, +2.0 percentage points, indicating a comparatively low degree of underemployment.

Edit 2: Where is @catgrin? she is supposed to do research for us :wink:


Rupert Murdoch Perfect Storm: The unemployed, pregnant Muslim teenager was arrested for a grisly murder last week…


Calculating unemployment is an interesting problem because there is so much fuzziness in it. Going with myself as an example, I checked out of the labor market during the downturn because the work environment at not just my company but at a wide swath of employers had become toxic. I have high in demand skills but am happily living on savings and investments for the time being. Eventually I’ll return to the job market. I might return now if the right opportunity presented itself though I’m not actively seeking them out. Should I be counted as unemployed? I’m not working by my choice but the labor market that I left was in a toxic state that was not created by my choices. Had things continued the way they were before the crash I would happily be in the labor market being productive. Then there are people who are qualified for skilled jobs that they can’t find so they’re in jobs that require less skills in order to have some sort of income. And then there are part time workers who would like to be full time. Some of this is accounted for in particular unemployment measurements but not in others.

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You forgot to add that she immigrated illegally…