Americans believe things

…Why…you say that like it’s a bad thing!..


A nit to pick about your nit to pick: Believing something that isn’t true means that you are ignorant of what is true regarding that particular topic. They’re not the same thing, but they do go hand-in-hand.

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Unemployment figures have been skewed in government reports for decades - another forgotten gift from the Reagan administration - just stop retaining the number of individuals who are no longer eligible for unemployment benefits. It’s almost impossible to gain a clear perspective of the facts from any government report. Just try and find an accurate number for the number of barrels of oil produced in the US? And least we forget that the US sells said refined oil to Canada to re-sell back to the US government, at a discount, right?

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… and that’s the only country/region they know something about.

There is the “ignorant USian” stereotype - apparently it’s no stereotype but reality.

Don’t look at what we believe. . . look at how hard we believe it! That’s the important thing, dammit!


Millennials’ Political Views Don’t Make Any Sense

  1. Far less important, but entertaining nonetheless: Millennials don’t know what socialism is, but they think it sounds nice.

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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.

U3 may well be the most often reported number. But I’ll bet that U2 is the one that’s most likely to appear in your iCloud account…whether you want it or not.


Now we’re entering some scary U2 / UB40 mash up territory.


Wait, since Mexico is not polled am I now ignorant of how ignorant I am?
I wish I knew the answer.

Won’t somebody tell me how ignorant I am?


It is more dangerous than the flu; however, it is less likely.

American probably rank close-to-average for misunderstanding statistics (maybe something about a bell-curve, or deviation-from-the-mean? I dunno. I’m American).

U B Making That Happen is either my request, or Prince’s new single (or both. What are the chances?!).


I don’t know if that’s true. It’s only in the past few years that poll respondents in developed economies have started saying that they believe their kids will not be better off than they are; for most of the past couple hundred years people have believed that society was improving and that their children could expect better lives.

And I’m not sure that this increasing pessimism feeds into the Republican/conservative framework. High unemployment should lead to greater support for governmental intervention and support, especially since people are no less likely to believe that an individual’s hard work alone will guarantee economic success.

I didn’t see a question about the earth being flat or only 3,000 years old…

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I’ll just leave this here…

Well, there are many countries with (similarly) insular societies. It’s unfortunate in the US because America is such a big player in global politics. Even so, it wouldn’t be such a problem if we elected capable leaders, rather than relatable ones. Instead, our government is made up of people who know as little as we do.

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They remind me of moronic drunken sports fans with painted faces.
However, If only Americans that acted like idiots waving the flag and cheering “USA, USA” knew as much about their country as dopey football fans can remember every stat…

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What about Italian Americans?

On unemployment, this is definitely a matter of “wisdom of the crowd” trumping the official statistics. The perceived 32% unemployment is a slight underestimate, but in the ball-park.

The last number that I saw in the news media - in the N.Y. Times, I believe - is that only 61% of the workforce (non-disabled adults) is currently employed. Department of Labor says it’s a couple percent higher than that - according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of Friday, November 7, 2014, “The civilian labor force participation rate was little changed at 62.8 percent in October and has been essentially flat since April.”

BTW for all of you who have been saying “OMG, why don’t you show the basis for those numbers, do the research for us!”,

Not so very hard, was that?

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I don’t believe it. Nope, not one little bit.

Never trust polls. After all, everyone knows that 82% of all statistics are made up.

There’s some huge bits of information missing from this poll. Who was interviewed? Where do they live? What is their subculture(s)? In gathering information, who are they most likely to believe? What is their level of financial security, real or imagined?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics have been linked to twice above you already (Table A-15, anyway - which provides a figure of 11.1% for total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force).

So the 62.8% employment (and hence 37.2% unemployment) figure you mention comes from including all the people not in the labor force.

Who is not in the labor force?
As mentioned previously, the labor force is made up of the employed and the unemployed. The remainder—those who have no job and are not looking for one—are counted as not in the labor force. Many who are not in the labor force are going to school or are retired. Family responsibilities keep others out of the labor force. Since the mid-1990s, typically fewer than 1 in 10 people not in the labor force reported that they want a job.

I don’t agree with the lower 5.5% figure, but counting students, the retired and stay at home parents as unemployed seems more than a little misleading too.