AEIdeas

The public policy blog of the American Enterprise Institute

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Discussion: (11 comments)

  1. Mr. Strain, You are obviously fooling yourself, and no one else.
    Unemployment really went under 8% before the presidents re-election? Even though there are ongoing investigations about cooking the numbers.
    & million uninsured that didn’t have healthcare – Obama said it himself.
    You can keep your-we don’t even need to go there.
    A video got our Ambassador killed?
    The average household will save $2500.00 a year on medical insurance?
    Not a smidgeon of corruption in the IRS targeting? Democratic congressmen – the DOJ – FEC – and IRS colluded, passing documents (personal private info) illegally between themselves.
    S&P targeted for retribution?
    So your infinite wisdom leads you to tell us, ” So this decision is evidence of very poor judgment. But until there’s any evidence of a conspiracy, we should not make accusations of conspiracy”.
    Statements like this by you, and all the rest of the media conglomerate that like to be considered the fourth branch of government, the gate keepers of the truth-free speech-and speaking truth to power need to re-evaluate your personal conduct, and moral code.

    The rest of us are ashamed that our president is a “damn liar”, as Senator Simpson said of Bill Clinton. The current president’s lies have been deadly, see (fast and furious).

    But hey, OJ, Michael Jackson, and Casey Anthony are all innocent too. So there is that.

  2. “For several reasons, the current insurance questions in the CPS are badly designed and need to be improved.” Is this like going into Iraq on the basis of bad intelligence? Did we redesign 16% of the economy for a problem we didn’t have? You mean there was no insurance problem? We will see.

    “But it’s a long walk from bad decision to conspiracy” So there was no conspiracy in the Bush years about Iraq? We didn’t go to Iraq for oil? Looking bad is only a short walk from being bad.

    The “light at the end of the tunnel” that President Obama sees is not the end of the controversy but the headlight of the next train in this wreck. The one that says, ““First, I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits – either now or in the future. Period.” Good Luck Guys.

  3. Kent Lyon

    Obama taking the Census into the White House is like Lyndon Johnson blocking any counting of the votes in the ballot box from Precinct 13. Why, Census data will likely be placed under executive privilege if the need arises. When the President is the point man on promulgating lies out of the White House, over and over and over again, why should anyone believe any Census bureaucrat who is working directly out of the White House? Mr. Strain’s protestations about charging conspiracy are so “strained” he must have thrown out his back, his knees, his hips, his shoulders, his elbows, his wrists, and his neck trying to contort himself to avert his eyes from the obvious. Laughable in the extreme.

  4. The New York Post’s John Crudele has a follow-up on his earlier reporting about the Census Bureau, noted here yesterday. The bureau, he writes, is stonewalling his requests for information:

    “Census, which is under investigation by several government agencies and by Congress, is refusing to turn over an estimated 1,900 e-mails and text messages between a regional supervisor in its Philadelphia office, where falsification of unemployment data took place, and a colleague in its Chicago region, who a source has identified as the supervisor’s mentor and confidant.

    On March 5, under the Federal Freedom of Information Act, I requested all e-mails between Fernando Armstrong, the regional director of the Philadelphia office, and Stanley Moore, Chicago’s regional director, from 2010 until my filing date.

    Census estimates there were 1,900 e-mails, but it turned over just 10 pages. Three of those pages weren’t even between those two men. The other seven are what we in the news business describe as crap.

    The federal agency is also refusing to hand over any report that it may have written on Julius Buckmon, a former Census data collector who allegedly falsified surveys. Information from those surveys goes into the Labor Department’s unemployment report as well as its consumer inflation survey.

    Information on falsification is detailed in documents from a racial and age discrimination complaint Buckmon filed against the bureau in 2010. Buckmon claims higher-ups told him to lie.”

  5. Oh yea, Obama has never done anything under the table to hide his failure. That whole youtube video/Benghazi thing was just our imagination. And the unemployment rate magically dropped just before the 2012 election. And there were never any failed solar companies Obama propped up, those were dirty coal companies in disguise that he shut down.

  6. David Schubert

    This propaganda piece is beneath AEI’s standards; it should have been posted on April Fools Day or at The Onion.

  7. This change was 10 years in the making, so it’s hard to picture a conspiracy afoot. http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/hlthins/publications/sehsd_wp_2014-16.pdf

    The new method assuredly is superior in that we’ll now get both a point-in-time and over-time estimate of uninsured status, whereas previously we got a number that was SUPPOSED to be coverage in the prior calendar year, but turned out to be a blend of point-in-time and last-year-coverage figures. It would have clearly been better to have all this in place well before 2010 so that we could have better measured impact of the law. But it made more sense to switch to a superior measurement method in time to capture 2013 and 2014 as opposed to putting this off for yet another half-decade etc.

    Given the timing of the change, I concur that having side-by-side comparisons of old and new numbers might have been nice hypothetically so we could better deduce changes attributable to ACA vs. other factors.

    That said, the MUCH larger American Community Survey does provide us with annual snapshots that pre-date President Obama’s inauguration, so this will provide us with the capability you describe. The only problem is we’ll need to wait until September 2015 before we have definitive ACS figures that compare CY2014 vs. CY2013. But realistically, that’s how long we would have had to wait for CPS figures if we interpret them as being estimates of coverage in prior calendar year. That is, CPS figures that will have come out this September would have told us about CY2013, not 2014.

    As well, the smaller NHIS reports quarterly estimates of the uninsured going back to 1998: by December we will have NHIS estimates for Q1 2014 to compare against 2013 figures. http://www.shadac.org/publications/comparingfedsurveys2013

  8. Aaron Truax

    I’m sure Mr. Strain also believes the IRS harassment of Tea Party members is just a statistical anomaly.

    Maybe it’s a remarkable coincidence that the White House has been desperately spinning ACA results and that so many Federal agencies are spontaneously abusing their power to advance the Obama agenda.

    It could happen.

  9. Enumerated_Powers

    I disagree with the author’s characterization that the changes in the survey are dumb but not intentional; he has provided no evidence for his conclusion. A transparent administration would delay the changes in the survey to allow comparisons with prior years’ data.

  10. Kafantaris

    Michael Strain says “it’s a long walk from bad decision to conspiracy.”
    That’s for sure.
    In science, as in human affairs, the simpler theory is the right one.
    And conspiracy is the most complex theory as it involves several people and concerted action. Conspiracy thus should never be embraced without solid proof — despite our appetite for it.
    In the case of the Obamacare Census Bureau Survey, the fact that plans to change the questions were made before Obamacare is enough to abandon a conspiracy theory.
    Time to move on.

  11. Critz George

    The author, Michael Strain, seems to have some idea how the Federal Bureaucracy works. Most of the commenters have no clue. Reluctant bureaucrats who have professional reputations at stake can always find a way to frustrate and expose orders to “cook the books.”

    As regards the comment on politicized unemployment announcements, I would remind all that the BLS has for years if not decades published 6 measures of unemployment, U1 through U6, that are and always have been precisely defined. If the news media choose to stick solely with the “headline” rate, U3, then they are simply lazy. The BLS has provided a metric to suit any purpose. No conspiracy here.

    If you want to see a corrupt Obama decision that will have lasting impacts, look at the cancellation of the Yucca Mountain rad waste repository in clear violation of policy statutes passed by the Congress in 1982 and 1987. The deed was done to placate the Senate Majority leader, Harry Reid, after politicians in Nevada had stirred up the Las Vegas voters with demagoguery that reached the standards of Lester Maddox and George Wallace. As a “wedge issue” Nevada was taught to fear a $10 billion project in the same way that Georgia and Alabama voters were taught to fear blacks. The Secretary of Energy became the agent for this monumental waste and environmental travesty, and nothing about it was hidden. The bureaucrats were powerless to prevent it, but many alumni of the Department of Energy have spoken out in numerous forums to spotlight that outrage.

    And there is always the Inspector General of any Agency, who always “happens upon” evidence of chicanery. Take, for example the US NRC, whose revelations about the Chairman led to his early resignation. And, if I properly recall, the IG of the Treasury was involved in the exposure of the biased screening of PACs. Most career civil servants are offended by political chicanery, and they do remarkable things to undermine it.

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