Hardball | October 05, 2012
>> top of "hardball" tonight.
>> thank you.
>> with me not to fight with jack but to have a different point of view a jared bernstein, former chief economist and economic adviser to vice president biden. you heard that discussion. i like jack. i'm fond of the guy. jack welch has raised the question but it was obviously his business instinct and his it's a tud i think towards this president that came together at 8:35 and he tweeted out this unbelieve jobs numbers. these chicago guys will do anything. can't debate so they change the numbers. i'll do back to what i haerz ezra klein say in the room that a 0.3 of 1% shift in the unemployment rate is not wild. it's very conceivable. your thoughts.
>> that's absolutely true. i mean, what i just heard from jack welch was about with respect i guess was about ten minutes of absolute nonsense with no grounding in what the bureau of labor statistics actually does. now, he's absolutely right that a very large jobs number in the household survey is an outlier. it's unusual. these things happen. that number has a large margin of error around it. the bureau of labor statistics is very public about that.
>> but these are nonpoliticians though. these are absolute bureaucratic government servants.
>> that's the point. it wasn't that jack welch was raising a question. it wasn't that there's an outlier in the data. he argued very clearly that the white house had a thumb on its scale, was entering a political bias into the print on the bls numbers.
>> that's what he tweeted.
>> that's what he tweeted.
>> now he's come back and says he simply has questions. go ahead.
>> that's an outrageous allegation and it's an allegation that strikes at the heart of a statistical agency with a tremendous amount of integrity. i have worked at both the white house and the department of labor . the firewalls between them are extremely thick. the data processing , the analyses, the reporting are incredible rigorous and careful, and this is a number that moves markets. for a guy like that who claims to be an experienced businessman to come out and shed --
>> he is an experienced businessman, so we have to go from there but the question is was he angry this morning, was his political attitude more than any kind of economic a o analysis? i would argue right now listening to him right now, it's his attitude towards oak an i think he's shocked that the number looks so good. he doesn't want it to look that good. this number is going to help the president.
>> absolutely. so it's pure political. you shouldn't be then -- you're right, for an experienced business guy who people listen to and look to, to cast that kind of a ridiculous apersian is actually quite damaging and shouldn't be done. let's talk about the number.
>> how good is this news today?
>> how good is it, did you say?
>> it's good news. it's not over the moon good news but it's good news. i think you have to look at the payroll survey. there i think you see an acceleration of job growth and bymuch has a point you should never take one monthly number. if there's a germ of something in there, you should never take one monthly number. you should average. if you look at the past three months, payrolls have been growing about 150,000 per month compared to about 67,000 per month in the prior three months. so that's a bit of an acceleration. a little momentum on the unemployment rate .
>> let's put it in historic terms. we cover leks, not economics generally, but ronald relen was re-elected with a 7.2% because he said it was the morning in america. optimism was what he sold. he was able to say 7.2% is great news, great news. he got re-elected with 49 states. he lost minnesota and the district of columbia with 7.2%. what should obama get with 7.8%? it seems like it's within the range there and everybody is pooh-poohing it and oh, geez. i know why jack welch is scared, that number is too damn scared to reagan's number.
>> i think how this works with the president's narrative is that we're moving in the right direction, don't change -- you know, don't change horses, don't go back to a playbook that demonstrably didn't work, the george bush supply side stuff that he can legitimately tie to mitt romney . he had a narrative that said the economy is moving in the right direction, and i think this job report actually strengthens that narrative. and much more than levels of variables like the level of the employment rate , it's momentum that i think forms voters' views on the economy.
>> i think it was interesting that jack let out that last night he tweeted, i didn't know this, he had tweeted 7.9% was his prediction. that is not exactly a wide deviation from what he thought it was going to be. i would just say this now, i have tremendous expect for theb ls.
>> thank you.
>> i have known all my life it's independent. people like nixon couldn't get to it. you couldn't get to it.
>> you can't get to it.
>> i think for him to say that i think is bad. i hope he softens -- i think he began to soften it today. it's not an attack on the integrity of those people working there.
>> it's just the integrity of the system, which is one that's just irreproachable when it comes to the quality and the integrity of the statistics.
>> why would you work over there for 30 or 40 years with pride and having a reputation for integrity so some joker could call you, quote, from chicago. give me a break, jack.
>> i think someone who says what he said really should step back and think about that kind of a comment.
>> my guess is he is. anyway, thank you jared bernstein for coming on to straighten some things up.