Friday, December 12, 2014

Q&A - 12/12

NY Times

There are about 10 million prime-age men [25-54] who are not working.

Not bad

According to FRED, there are 51.282 million in this demographic, working, and according to this, this group has, "39.9% (male 63,452,792/female 63,671,631) [in total 127123]". Then 63.452 - 51.282 = 12.170 million prime age men are unemployed. NYT's number is a lot closer to the one we calculated.

In comparison FRED's own unemployment number here says 2.572 million. I think gov agencies are purposely playing with the definition of unemployment so that unemployment numbers (hence rates) come out looking lower (that's why we worked backwards from employment numbers not trusting their unemployment numbers). But simple arithmetic reveals what is going on. They do this for overall unemployment numbers BTW. According to this, prime  age unemployed overall is at 4.864 mil, employed are 95.684. When added up, their numbers give 100.548 mil. But this demographic should have 127.123 mil people in it! Where did the rest (27 million) go? Did they all find jobs in Mars?

What they are doing is akin to adding up 3 with 1 and coming up with 10. Actually... scratch that. They're not even doing that. What they are saying is "forget about the 10, forget about the 3. Just look at 1. It's such a low number isnt it!?".

Foreign Policy

The U.S. government seems outraged that people are leaking classified materials about its less attractive behavior. It certainly acts that way: three years ago, after Chelsea Manning, an army private then known as Bradley Manning, turned over hundreds of thousands of classified cables to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, U.S. authorities imprisoned the soldier under conditions that the UN special rapporteur on torture deemed cruel and inhumane. The Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell, appearing on Meet the Press shortly thereafter, called WikiLeaks’ founder, Julian Assange, “a high-tech terrorist.”

More recently, following the disclosures about U.S. spying programs by Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency analyst, U.S. officials spent a great deal of diplomatic capital trying to convince other countries to deny Snowden refuge [..]

The deeper threat that leakers such as Manning and Snowden pose is more subtle than a direct assault on U.S. national security: they undermine Washington’s ability to act hypocritically and get away with it.

Slam dunk