rosy jobs picture?

Tim Kane of the Heritage Foundation (danger, will robinson) wrote an op-ed for the NYT that paints a very rosy picture of the jobs situation in the US, that some are citing as evidence that everything is A-OK. Unfortunately for Kane’s and the Heritage foundation’s credibility, it’s so full of dishonesty and misrepresentations that it’s not hard to shoot it full of holes. Courtesy of Brad DeLong I see that Heather Boushey and Dean Baker have done just that in a letter to the NYT. My favorite part:

The reason that current claims are below their historic average – another point made by Mr. Kane – is that there has been a long-term trend of declining eligibility due to tighter restrictions. This tightening of eligibility requirements would ensure that unemployment claims are below their historic average except in the most severe labor market conditions.

Turns out that claims go down when you restrict eligibility! Who knew?!

This is really a genius strategy. Social program reform in two easy steps:

  1. Drastically restrict eligibility for the social safety-net program that annoys you
  2. Claim success when claims for the social safety-net program drop sharply

Too bad this genius is used for evil and not good.