Dear John: As a follower of your articles on how the government/Obama administration has been manipulating the economic data and statistics, I find it hard to swallow that now the Democrats are worried about the Trump administration cooking the books.
Where were they for the past eight years?
I have an idea: Take the data in an honest, statistically appropriate fashion, analyze it rigorously and report it honestly. A.Z.
Dear A.Z.: There is speculation that the Trump administration will boost economic projections so it will anticipate higher revenue in the future.
If he pulls this charade, President Trump would be able to spend more on infrastructure than otherwise would be allowed.
However, this is very transparent, and even if Trump tries, he won’t get away with it.
On the other hand, Trump would not want economic data to look too good this early in his administration. There is no advantage to that, since President Obama could claim credit.
Trump will want the economy to perk up in a year when the next congressional campaigns are beginning.
But rigging economic data for that purpose would be useless, as the last election proved voters are the real authorities on the economy and see right through such data manipulation.
Dear John: I’m writing regarding the unemployment-jobless survival query.
You are quite correct about an underground economy. Before I moved to Georgia in 2014, I was a self-employed computer consultant with a Subchapter S that reported some (not all) income to the IRS.
I reported income from business clients who submitted federal paperwork. But I also performed contract assignments that I didn’t report, which in 2013 was a combined total income of $47,000.
Since moving to Georgia, I have gone the employed route.
Many other consultants do not have any Subchapter S or anything to indicate they make money, too.
So, get a check, bank it, buy food and live — and don’t tell anybody about it.
(Of note: I worked for Aon many years ago and am a certified 101st floor South Tower survivor.)
Dear John: Wouldn’t a simple way of estimating the unemployment rate be by dividing the 94+ million people not in the workforce into the total USA population, less those like children and the elderly who might not be working?
A very rough result, but certainly way more than the 5+ percent we are given by the government. A.L.K.
Dear A.L.K.: I can’t believe I’m defending the government’s calculation, but many of those 94 million people who aren’t in the workforce may not want to be.
So it’s really not fair to include people as unemployed if they don’t want a job.
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