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Abbott and Costello on Unemployment

Written by Gary North on February 3, 2012

Maybe you remember Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. They are still famous for “Who’s on First?”

What if they did a routine on unemployment in America? It might go like this:


COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America.

ABBOTT: Good subject. Terrible times. It’s about 9%.

COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?

ABBOTT: No, that’s 16%.

COSTELLO: You just said 9%.

ABBOTT: 9% Unemployed.

COSTELLO: Right 9% out of work.

ABBOTT: No, that’s 16%.

COSTELLO: Okay, so it’s 16% unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, that’s 9%…

COSTELLO: WAIT A MINUTE. Is it 9% or 16%?

ABBOTT: 9% are unemployed. 16% are out of work.

COSTELLO: If you are out of work you are unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, you can’t count the “Out of Work” as the unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.

COSTELLO: But … they are out of work!

ABBOTT: No, you miss my point.

COSTELLO: What point?

ABBOTT: Someone who doesn’t look for work can’t be counted with those who look for work.

It wouldn’t be fair.


ABBOTT: The unemployed.

COSTELLO: But they are ALL out of work. . . .


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4 thoughts on “Abbott and Costello on Unemployment

  1. When the Democrats are in control the media puts a positive spin on everything. When the Conservatives lead the media does everything in its power to put a negative spin on everything. I'll take Bush's 5% unemployment during his terms over O's 9-10%. I remember the media condemning Bush when the unemploment rate went from 4.5% to 5%. Then Nancy and Harry took over the House and Senate in 2006 and crashed the whole party. Of course the media blames Bush. But, fair minded and informed intellectuals realize the liberal progressives (Democrats) own this economy. It is only due to printing and barrowing trillions of dollars to pay "government employees salaries" has Obama delayed us from crashing into a deep depression. To think, the Progressives took over in 2006 because the media convinced enough voters Bush was a "big spending" idiot. The media's double standards are criminal. I rest my case. Peace.

  2. Having been raised on Abbott and Costello, I could picture them doing that routine on unemployment. What a treat. I kept chuckling as I pictured the back and forth routine of the comic duo. Now I will get to laugh at the "O" when he makes his speeches how he is helping the economy. That, too, is a comic routine. Almost every speech he, or any of his minions, gives are just that ridiculous. Too bad it is so serious for the true numbers of unemployed. Which "O" will never refer to the real numbers of unemployed during this administration.

  3. Another way Washington skews the data is, once jobless people have used up all their unemployment benefits they're simply dropped from the rolls and not reported anymore. Presto, they're back in the work force (if you think like a politician)! That's why — no matter how bad the economy gets — the "official" unemployment figures always continue to hover around 9%.

  4. And you don't think EVERYpresidential adminsitration puts a postitive spin on employemnt figures? If not you have a very short memory.