“Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.” Thus begins an Associated Press story entitled “Exclusive: 4 in 5 in US face near-poverty, no work.”
Am I the only one who thinks that seems high? Like really, really, really high, actually?
I mean, I’m all for facing the truth and acknowledging that our real unemployment figure is nowhere near the touted 7.6%. But the new numbers being thrown around seem just as unrealistic.
So let’s play a few word games here to make sense of the data, starting out with a careful study of that same starting sentence: “Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.”
Technically, I suppose, I’m one of those U.S. adults, since it took me a year to find a real job after college. Sure, I lived comfortably enough during that stint since I stayed with my parents rent-free, but I still did “struggle with joblessness.”
“Semantics!” You may cry. But semantics are what these surveys are far too often about. (Incidentally, conservative studies can be just as guilty of this. I’m not just picking on the liberal-leaning Associated Press.) It’s nearly impossible to begin research like this without pre-conceived opinions, biases and/or agendas. So whether people recognize it or not, they’re prone to phrasing related questions and corresponding conclusions in ways that automatically agree with their own findings.
The results are that, in this case, somebody like me who has been solidly middle-class her whole entire life can still fall into the mind-boggling statistic listed above.
But why would the liberal-leaning (or capsizing) Associated Press run such an unflattering angle of the truth when their beloved President Obama, is running the show? That’s the real question.
For the real answer, look no further than paragraph three (No seriously, there’s little point to finishing the article. Take it from me: it’s just more tripe.): “The findings come as President Barack Obama tries to renew his administration’s emphasis on the economy, saying in recent speeches that his highest priority is to ‘rebuild ladders of opportunity’ and reverse income inequality.’”