First we had Jeab-Claude Juncker saying it's ok to lie to the people, then President Obama's poster-child for Obamacare who later discovered she was unable to get the healthcare she expected and now following Janet Yellen's apparently 'uber-dovish' "jobs are not plentful" sob story spech yesterday we have more governmental factual inaccuracies. As Bloomberg reports, in her first speech as Federal Reserve chair, Janet Yellen told the stories of three people who had trouble finding work to illustrate her concern about the unemployed -- omitting the fact that two had criminal records that might have influenced employers’ decisions on whether to hire them.
Oddly the "Jobs Plentiful" index has been nothing but positive throughout all of this... but as is clear below, remain a very long way from the 'plentiful-ness' of the '90s (and appear to have hit resistance)...
As Bloomberg reports, the first of the three people mentioned by Yellen was Dorine Poole, who lost her job processing medical insurance claims when the recession hit.
“When employers started hiring again, two years of unemployment became a disqualification,” Yellen said in her speech yesterday to a community development conference in Chicago. “Even those needing her skills and employment preferred less-qualified workers without a long spell of unemployment.”
Poole was convicted of felony theft 20 years ago after she fell in with a “bad circle,” she said in a telephone interview. She was 18 at the time and served two years of probation.
The second persion Yelle noted was Jermaine Brownlee, a skilled construction worker and apprentice plumber, “saw his wages drop sharply as he scrambled for odd jobs and temporary work,” Yellen said.
Brownlee said in a telephone interview that he was convicted of possession of heroin last year and currently is on parole.
The story beats the facts...
Yellen met personally with both people and knew about their records before the speech, according to a Fed spokeswoman who requested anonymity and declined to comment further.
Politicians commonly tell real-life stories to connect with voters and illustrate policy proposals. While the images can be powerful, there are risks.
But why would she need to do this? To ensure we all graciously accept money printing for the good of the rest of the people (convicted or not?)
The fact that Yellen omitted critical details about Poole and Brownlee shows “poor staff work or poor judgment,” said Republican strategist Stuart Roy, founder of Strategic Action Public Affairs in Alexandria, Virginia.
“Real-people examples are very powerful and they’re very dangerous at the same time,” Roy said. “When you’re talking about the Fed, people have no idea what the Fed does. If you can relate it to Main Street and real people it can be very powerful.”
Powerful indeed... or just more smoke and mirrors... As we noted yesterday...
But there is something about the aftermath of the Great Recession, a something that is augmented by Big Data technology, that has made it okay to embrace public misdirection and miscommunication as an acceptable policy “tool”. It’s telling when Jon Stewart, a comedian, is the most authentic public figure I know.
It’s troubling when I have to assume that everything I hear from any politician or any central banker is being said for effect, not for the straightforward expression of an honest opinion.