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Like Bush, Obama Moves to Bury Bad Economic Data

David Sirota

The Bush administration had a nasty penchant for trying to bury bad economic news - a nasty penchant that I was intimately familiar with when working on the House Appropriations Committee. One of the most egregious examples of this came in 2003. Here's the Washington Post on 1/2/03:

U.S. Drops Report On Mass Layoffs;
Data Helped States Track Patterns of Industrial Demise

By Kirstin Downey
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 2, 2003

Citing a shortage of money, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will
stop publishing information about factory closings across the country, a
decision that some state officials and labor leaders are protesting.

The monthly Labor Department analysis, known as the Mass Layoffs
Statistics report, detailed where workplaces with more than 50 employees
closed and what kinds of workers were affected.

Luckily, because of progressive pressure and public outcry, this Bush
move was overturned by Congress. But now, the same kind of thing is
back. According to today's
Washington Post
, it looks like the Obama administration is
reprising the same scheme:

Obama administration plans to close
International Labor Comparisons office

By Alec MacGillis
Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Like a scorekeeper for the world, a tiny unit within the Bureau
of Labor Statistics tracks globalization's winners and losers, and the
results are not always pretty for the United States. Manufacturing jobs
here, for example, have fallen faster since 1979 than in Canada, Germany
or Japan. Compensation for those jobs dropped here in 2008 but jumped
in South Korea and Australia. Soon, however, Americans may be spared the
demoralization in these numbers: The White House wants to shutter the
unit that produces them.

In his State of the Union address, of course, Obama called for a
massive expansion of the NAFTA trade model into Colombia, South Korea
and Panama. So you can bet this announcement by the White House is no
accident - it's preemptive.

Apparently, no matter which party is in power, when bad news
hits, the response is bury the news - don't address the actual problem.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
David Sirota

David Sirota

David Sirota is a best-selling author whose books  "Back to Our Future" and "Hostile Takeover: How Big Money & Corruption Conquered Our Government--And How We Take It Back"  are available. He hosts the morning show on AM760 in Colorado and is a contributing writer at Salon.com. E-mail him at ds@davidsirota.com, follow him on Twitter @davidsirota or visit his website at www.davidsirota.com.

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