Type to search


Why Mitt Romney can’t handle simple math


Photo illustration by Gabriel Ivan Orendain-Necochea

The running problem with the current ramblings of the Republican Party is that reality is only real when it fits their messed-up narrative.

The latest example is Mitt Romney’s tired talking point about the unemployment situation in our country. The most recent jobs report issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics now shows that unemployment is below Mitt’s wondrous 8 percent threshold, settling in at 7.8 percent for the month of September.

Romney has consistently touted the fact that unemployment was only below 8 percent for the first 11 days of President Obama’s administration. When the numbers weren’t in Obama’s favor, Romney was more than happy to use them to guide his narrative.

The Republican candidate even commented on it during his closing arguments at the first debate.

“We’ve had 43 straight months with unemployment above 8 percent,” said Romney.

But in a turn of events that seems all too familiar for his bungling presidential bid, Romney once again plays the fool. A mere two days after his trouncing of Obama in the first debate, the magical 7.8 percent number was released.

Romney, a true champ at deviating from a stance, decided to double down on the jobs report line he so carefully crafted, and in the process, dismissed reality at a whim.

“This is not what a real recovery looks like,” Romney said in a press release. “If I’m elected, we will have a real recovery.”

The number “8 percent” only has impact as a mental threshold. According to the same jobs report, most of the gains in employment were for part-time work and low-skill employees. This is a problem for Obama as it belies the truth of the recovery—that the jobs people want still aren’t there.

But the Republicans’ and Romney’s own campaign have made the 8 percent threshold into an issue that’s come to bite them in the ass. With this latest statement and pigheaded stance, Romney has opted to demolish the stadium rather than moving the goalposts.

Romney’s statement shows the hypocrisy and general disconnect of the current GOP establishment. Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch took to Twitter, and as usually happens with Twitter, Tweeted something he later regretted.

“Unbelievable jobs numbers…these Chicago guys will do anything…can’t debate so change numbers,” said Welch.

Welch eventually walked it back a bit and claimed in a follow-up Tweet that he didn’t specifically say the White House was responsible for cooking the books. I guess he meant Al Capone.
Quick to follow Welch down the insane rabbit hole, was Florida Congressman Allen West – always reliable for a bout of stupid. West agreed with Welch’s sentiments and took it further saying, “Somehow by manipulation of data, we are below 8 percent unemployment, a month from the presidential election.”

The data that the Bureau of Labor Statistics collects is impartial. No matter how many times you proclaim it from your molehill, that reality doesn’t change.

Obama put forth a stimulus plan that has been slow in its effect to right this capsizing ship we call a country. Part of that blame lies with his tepid plan, and part of that blame lies with a stalled Congress, including a clear Republican majority in the House.

Obama’s net gain of jobs approaching his four-year mark in office hovers at around 663,000. But the other number behind that is the 4.5 million jobs that were created while he was president. That deficit in jobs was a direct result of the previous administrations bungling through two wars and a broken financial system.

When taken as a whole, the numbers show we are on the right path. No amount of insanity from the right changes that.

—Nathan is a journalism major who lives in a reality only he dictates. It’s made up of gingerbread, frosting and mid-century modern furniture.

Nathan McMahon

I'm awesome

  • 1

You Might also Like


  1. Here’s one reason I don’t belive the numbers.

    From Jack Welch in the Wall Street Journal:

    “The unemployment data reported each month are gathered over a
    one-week period by census workers, by phone in 70% of the cases, and the rest
    through home visits. In sum, they try to contact 60,000 households, asking a
    list of questions and recording the responses.

    Some questions allow for unambiguous answers, but others less so. For instance, the range for part-time work falls between one hour and 34 hours a week. So, if an out-of-work accountant tells a census worker, “I got one baby-sitting job this week just to cover my kid’s bus fare, but I haven’t been able to find anything else,” that could be recorded as being employed part-time.

    The possibility of subjectivity creeping into the process is so pervasive that the BLS’s own “Handbook of Methods” has a full page explaining the limitations of its data, including how non-sampling errors get made, from “misinterpretation of the questions” to “errors made in the estimations of missing data.”

    “In August, the labor-force participation rate in the U.S. dropped to 63.5%, the lowest since September 1981. By definition, fewer people in the workforce leads to better unemployment numbers. That’s why the unemployment rate dropped to 8.1% in August from 8.3% in July. Meanwhile, we’re told in the BLS report that in the months of August and September, federal, state and local governments added 602,000 workers to their payrolls, the largest two-month increase in more than 20 years. And the BLS tells us that, overall, 873,000 workers were added in September, the largest
    one-month increase since 1983, during the booming Reagan recovery.”

  2. Bob Kellum Oct 9, 2012

    The proper gage of the unemployment situation is the U6.  No matter how hard you try to spin the number, the decline in the “published” number reflects the large number of folks who have dropped out of trying to find a job.  When you look at the U6, it is still steadily at 14.7% unemployment.
    Simple math is not the problem here, proper interpretation of statistics appears to be your problem.

    Since your prose is filled with emotional observation, I can only assume that you are attempting to put forward a narrative, just like the Main Stream Media.  If you call “more people out of hope” a better result, then this is the number you are looking for!  Given the fact that it takes 200-300k of jobs created a month just to keep up with the numbers, the hundred or so created last month don’t even begin to keep up.

    If you really want the simple story, go to the BLS website and look up the U6.  That will help you get the proper perspective on the actual unemployment situation….  That is, unless you are not interested in the truth.

  3. When taken as a whole, the numbers show we are on the right path. No amount of insanity from the right changes that.

    I beg to differ:

    Unemployed and overlooked: Labor force rate of participation down drastically
    Since 2007, 4 million people have left the labor force, in many cases because they have given up looking for jobs. If these ‘discouraged jobseekers’ were counted in the jobless rate, August’s numbers would have been 10.5 percent.

Skip to content