Bob Beauprez
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Barack Obama spent considerable time during the State of the Union address on jobs and the economy – both of which are in a sorry state. 

As a result of the smoke-and-mirrors Obama-spin, the following little exercise might be a good review.  Credit is due to Barry Levinson, the famed Academy Award winning director, screenwriter, and producer who created and first published this two months ago in the Huffington Post.  Enjoy!

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

ABBOTT:  Good Subject. Terrible Times. It's 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.

COSTELLO:  To who?

ABBOTT:  The unemployed.

COSTELLO:  But they are ALL out of work.

ABBOTT:  No, the unemployed are actively looking for work... 
                Those who are out of work stopped looking. 
                They gave up. 
                And, if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.

COSTELLO:  So if you're off the unemployment roles, that would count as less unemployment?

ABBOTT:  Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!

COSTELLO:  The unemployment just goes down because you don't look for work?

ABBOTT:  Absolutely it goes down. That's how you get to 9%. Otherwise it would be 16%. You don't want to read about 16% unemployment do ya?

COSTELLO:  That would be frightening.

ABBOTT:  Absolutely.

COSTELLO:  Wait, I got a question for you. That means they're two ways to bring down the unemployment number?

ABBOTT:  Two ways is correct.

COSTELLO:  Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?

ABBOTT:  Correct.

COSTELLO:  And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?

ABBOTT:  Bingo.

COSTELLO:  So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to just stop looking for work.

ABBOTT:  Now you're thinking like an economist.

COSTELLO:  I don't even know what the hell I just said!

Now you know why Obama's unemployment figures are improving, and you should be understand the State of the Union. 

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Bob Beauprez

Bob Beauprez is a former Member of Congress and is currently the editor-in-chief of A Line of Sight, an online policy resource. Prior to serving in Congress, Mr. Beauprez was a dairy farmer and community banker. He and his wife Claudia reside in Lafayette, Colorado. You may contact him at: http://bobbeauprez.com/contact/