Is the federal government telling the public the truth about how bad the economy is and how fiscally irresponsible the government handles money? Is there something the government wants to hide? Here are five statistics the government would prefer the public not know:
The actual unemployment rate is 23 percent based on how the government calculated it in 1994. As of June 2012 the official government unemployment rate was 8.2 percent. In 1994 the government modified the calculation of unemployment to exclude short-term discouraged workers (those who are working part-time because they couldn’t find full-time work) and to exclude long-term discouraged workers (those who gave up looking for a job because they simply can’t find one).
In 2008 the government started increasing unemployment benefits from 26 weeks up to 99 weeks by 2012. "The government assistance programs contribute to long-term unemployment by providing an incentive, and the means, not to work,” wrote Lawrence H. Summers, former director of the National Economic Council for President Barack Obama. “Each unemployed person has a 'reservation wage' — the minimum wage he or she insists on getting before accepting a job. Unemployment insurance and other social assistance programs increase [the] reservation wage, causing an unemployed person to remain unemployed longer."
Proving Mr. Summer’s statement is the fact that the number of long-term discouraged workers has been increasing in direct proportion to the government extending unemployment benefits temporarily to 99 weeks.
Actual inflation rate is 9 percent, even though the official government reported inflation rate as of May 2012 is 1.7 percent. However, because the government modified the calculation of inflation in 1980 and again in 1990 (excluding gas and energy), the actual inflation rate is closer to 9 percent.
The number of individuals on food stamps is now at historic highs of 46.2 million, more than the entire population of Sudan, Argentina, Canada, Kenya and Iraq. Is it really helping in the long-term to have 1 in every 7 Americans receiving food stamps?
The goal of the Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is “to alleviate hunger and malnutrition by increasing food purchasing power for all eligible households who apply for participation." Certainly a noteworthy goal by providing free meals to more people than ever.
Is there a better way, other than more government social programs, to help those in need? The National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks "Please Do Not Feed the Animals." Their stated reason for the policy is because the animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves. What is the government doing to help food-stamp recipients so they don't become dependent on assistance?
Although the national debt has soared to $15.7 trillion in recent years, total unfunded obligations are actually closer to $78 trillion when combining Social Security and Medicare. But even more alarming is the trend in government spending, rising steadily from 7 percent of GDP in 1902 to 40 percent today, with no end in sight. Many politicians are more concerned with short-term fixes rather than long-tern sustainability and fiscal responsibility.