Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Why Forbes should not be trusted

David John Marotta is someone most people never heard of. Because of that, he has to make completely insane claims in order to get noticed. He writes for Forbes Magazine, and is one of many Austrian-school cranks that make that magazine a wretched hive of fear-mongering, sensationalism, mediocrity, and just a reflection on our vapid media culture in general. Late last year, he advised people to "get a gun" in case of an economic collapse. There's no real difference between this and many other Austrian-school wingnuts who've been hollering about the "imminent economic collapse" for several decades now. By the way, the site this was posted on was the Washington Examiner, a sort of National Enquirer for the most critically-thinking impaired right-wingers. The kinds of people who called opponents of NSA spying terrorist loving traitors before January 20, 2009 and are now suddenly howling in hypocritical and entirely disingenuous outrage at the NSA spying scandal of recent months. People with absolutely zero integrity. You know those types.

I'm getting sidetracked, because this post is not about those people. It's about Marotta. I posted that claim of his above because it's a good indicator of how reliable this guy is. If that's not, then surely his claim that the "real" unemployment rate is 37.2% is. How absurd is this claim? Glenn Beck's website The Blaze has debunked it, as have the American Enterprise Institute. You see, Mr. Marotta simply looked at the Labor-Force Participation rate (which at 62.8% is well below it's January 2000 peak of 67.5%) and placed the 37.2% of the public ages 16 and over that weren't in the labor force as members of the unemployed. This includes people who are retired, people who left the work force to raise their children, people who are disabled and thus cannot work, and students. These groups aren't counted among the unemployed, because if they were, the unemployment rate would never fall below 20% even in the best of economic times. Seriously, the January 2000 peak of labor-force participation would show a 32.5% unemployment rate by the absurd standards of Marotta.

There is an alternative government figure of measuring unemployment published monthly along with the "official" unemployment statistics in the DLS's jobs reports. When Marotta made his claims in January, the most recent statistics available were those of December 2013. The official unemployment rate was 6.7% but the U6-unemployment rate--also called the underemployment rate because it includes those who have dropped out of the labor force and those who are working part-time for economic reasons-was 13.1%. Note, as of March 2014, the official unemployment rate is still 6.7%, but the U-6 rate is 12.7%. Also, the labor force participation rate is 63.2%. Certainly not great compared with 2000, but for most of our history the rate was under 60%.

I'm sure it will come as a huge surprise that Marotta's claims were repeated on various Tea Party websites as well as cranky "news" rags like MoneyNews, MoneyMorning, and Newsmax without any prior fact checking or even a hint of skepticism. Seriously guys, when a website started by Glenn Beck and conservative think tank known for Bush apologists are showing more journalistic integrity than you, you really need to do some soul-searching.

As for Forbes and Washington Examiner, they should be ashamed for publishing garbage like the drivel of Mr. Marotta. Considering some of the other shit that gets published in those rags, however, they likely won't be. It just shows that there is no point in going to college anymore. Marotta's economic calculations would have gotten him an "F" at the High School level, and yet he's a Wall Street Advisor and the head of his own Investment Company. He also has a radio show and a monetized website. He probably makes more money in a month than the average American will make in ten years.

No comments:

Post a Comment