Obama Politicizing U.S. Labor Statistics?
When the new unemployment figures from the supposedly non-partisan Bureau of Labor Statistics came out earlier this month it was widely pointed out that the 8.6% number was only made possible by not counting the shrinkage in the labor market since Obama took office, and that the U-3 unemployment rate, which takes that into account, was 11%. See my previous post, from December 2nd, 8.6% Unemployment? Only If You Don’t Count The Shrinkage in the Labor Force.
Now it appears Obama intends to Politicize the Bureau of Labor Statistics in preparation for the 2012 election.
On the eve of the 2012 election, the White House is pushing to politicize the impartial U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The administration is also trying to bypass the congressional oversight that protects the independence of the neutral agency.
The BLS is the nation’s premier nonpartisan statistical agency reporting on the state of the American labor market. For more than a century, both political parties have considered BLS to be independent and politically untouchable.
The BLS monthly unemployment data is a key factor contributing to the president’s unpopularity.
Over the last year, the administration has refused to fill the two top BLS positions. They have yet to nominate anyone to replace outgoing BLS Commissioner Keith Hall, whose term expires in January, and the number two post previously held by Deputy Commissioner Philip Rones has been vacant since last summer. Rones had been the bureau’s deputy since 2003, and made it widely known ahead of time that he would be retiring by the middle of 2010.
BLS career professional and Associate Commissioner John Galvin has been given limited responsibilities to cover some of the deputy duties on an acting basis, but the White House has indicated it has no interest in promoting Galvin to the post of commissioner.
The Senate could get involved by exercising its Senate confirmation process for a new commissioner — but the administration has circumvented the process by not nominating anyone. Nominations usually are announced as early as six months before the expiration of a term, but with a few weeks left before Hall leaves office, it is clear no commissioner will be running the bureau through much of 2012.
This has led to speculation that the White House is trying to circumvent the Senate so as to appoint a deputy whose position does not need Senate confirmation, and who would defer to the White House and to politically aggressive Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.
One source told PJ Media the president would like to install Betsey Stevenson as the deputy commissioner. Stevenson is a Princeton academic and loyal political ally who worked as chief economist for Solis. Stevenson would be rejected by many in the Senate, which has regarded political allies as inappropriate for running the nonpartisan BLS.
Is anyone surprised that Obama plans to try to influence the employment numbers in 2012 in order to improve his chances of reelection? And that he will do that circumventing the Senate confirmation process to put one of his cronies in that slot with a recess appointment to get around the Senate confirmation process?
Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi is on the case and has written a letter to Obama stooge and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis warning her that efforts to politicize the non-partisan Bureau of U.S. Labor Statistics would be counterproductive, and has also written to Obama’s chief of staff William Daley wanting to know when Obama plans to nominate a new commissioner.
Republicans need to make sure the public is aware of this and in doing so they must understand that the mainstream media are just stenographers for the Obama Administration and aren’t going to be interested in the story. Senator Enzi must get it because he’s talking to PJ Media.
If you plan to vote in 2012, you really need to read all of the story at PJ Media.