A nice surprise came this month when the jobs report came out, and it was better than expected. In February the economy added 235,000 jobs and the unemployment figure came in at 4.7 percent. However, that isn’t the reason to write this article today. The article is here because of the comments from Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
When he addressed the figure in a press conference, Spicer said that he and Trump discussed the numbers and, “They may have been phony in the past, but it’s very real now.”
The comment, as absurd as it was, brought laughter from the gathered media representatives. The absurdity was drawn from earlier comments that then candidate Trump made about the 5.1 percent unemployment rate when he said that it was phony and the real rates were as high as 40 percent. Everyone would notice if the country had a 40 percent unemployment rate. It would be worse than the Great Depression by over 15 percent.
The concerning part is the people in the White House having such a tenuous grasp on reality. They now claim the numbers are correct, but what happens if there’s a downturn? We’ve already seen that Trump has a penchant for saying that polls showing positive results about him are true, and all negative polls are fake.
We also see an administration that is going out of its way to attack career scorekeepers. They’ve attacked the Congressional Budget Office over the score they’ve given the GOP’s terrible healthcare plan. One has to wonder how they expected the CBO to score it besides to say that the terrible solution is in fact terrible.
We’ve seen an administration that has no qualms going after the non-partisan watchdogs and scorekeepers that provide the data we all depend on. What happens when the jobs report doesn’t look exactly how they want? And after the administration has had some time to gut all the ways the public could be made aware of the damage from their policy decisions, when will we no longer have an ability to trust the numbers coming from the government?
There is an invisible line we are heading right for, and when we cross it the government will have covered their disastrous policies with enough lies that nobody can argue against them. When can we no longer trust the numbers?
There is a very real possibility that candidate Trump’s empty rhetoric may prove prophetic. We may well wind up with a situation where numbers the government reports are fabrications. It would take some real effort to uproot the career economists and employees that produce our unemployment numbers, but the Trump administration has shown no hesitance to fire career bureaucrats and turn normally non-partisan aspects of our government into partisan institutions.