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We live in an inauthentic world, yet people perceived to be telling the truth are demonized and shunned by the establishment. The fact that it took everybody so long to figure out that mainstream media promoted "fake news" to support their own political agenda is testimony to the fact that we claim to seek authenticity but settle for insincerity, falsehood, and duplicity in our personal, business, and civic relationships. Those of us who refuse to settle are considered "difficult."
The question I keep asking (because I am decidedly "difficult") is whether these people are wrong because they are stupid or because they are lying. I've come to conclude that the two alternatives are not mutually exclusive, though one of the worst sins our society commits against itself is confusing educational achievement and wealth for intelligence or good intentions.
The U.S. government is a major promoter of fake news. It lies to its citizens about virtually everything, but one of its specialties is the publication of phony economic statistics to justify failed economic policies. Whether this will change under the new administration remains to be seen (I'm not holding my breath and neither should you), but the last eight years were characterized by one false narrative after another bolstered by phony government statistics.
These two outright lies should concern you the most.
Lie No. 1: Our Unemployment Numbers Are Spectacularly Low
One of our government's most baldfaced lies is the headline unemployment number that claims that less than 5% of the working population is out of work. This is utter nonsense.
This figure, known as U3, only includes people actively looking for work within four weeks of the survey. U3 declined from 10% in 2009 to 4.6% in November 2016 because many unemployed people stopped looking for work in America. U6, which includes only short-term discouraged workers, is 9.7%; were we to include both long-term and short-term discouraged workers, the figure would be over 20%. With a labor participation rate of only 62.7%, close to the 40-year low reached in September 2015, there are roughly 95 million able-bodied people out of the work force.
There are many reasons for this, among them technological changes that are replacing many workers with machines, the culture of dependency promoted by Obama administration policies that lowered the eligibility requirements for many government benefits and eliminated welfare work requirements adopted during the 1990s, and the job- killing effects of Obamacare.
A recent paper by Harvard economist Lawrence Katz and Princeton economist (and former head of Obama's Council of Economic Advisors) Alan Krueger describes the changing nature of American employment. Nine-to-five jobs are a thing of the past for an increasing number of Americans, which means that the stability that this type of employment provided is gone, with enormous consequences for families, communities, and the psychological well-being of breadwinners. In a word (two words actually), part-time and temporary employment are the "new normal" for many Americans. Quoting from the report, "A striking implicati…
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Prominent money manager. Has built top-ranked credit and hedge funds, managed billions for institutional and high-net-worth clients. 29-year career.