RUSH: Neil in Charlotte, North Carolina. I’m glad you waited. Great to have you on the program. Hi.
CALLER: Hey, Rush. You pointed out earlier that the Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs numbers and unemployment rates are derived from surveys. Well, by nature, those numbers must have a margin of error, and that’s the dirty little secret. You can find the margin of errors at BLS.[gov] under the “technical footnotes” for the reports. If you scroll down, it says “reliability of estimates,” and you’ll see that the nonfarm payroll numbers margin of error — hold onto your seat — is plus or minus 100,000. The footnotes say that because it could be a negative number, they cannot for certain guarantee that there is any increase unless the number is above a hundred thousand. So we got 115,000. It couldn’t be 215,000 it could be 15,000. And the same goes for the unemployment number.
CALLER: The margin of error for the unemployment number — here we go — could be plus-or-minus 300,000.
RUSH: That’s true. This is true, but it’s true for every report, and it’s not just for this one. It’s for every report since we’ve been alive. So it’s part of the factor. It’s an interesting thing to know, don’t misunderstand. But I think with this bunch, if they’re reporting 115,000, it’s not that high.
RUSH: They’re doing whatever they have to do to move that number down — the unemployment rate down — from 8.2% to 8.1%. It’s just a poll! It’s like I said, they call people. They just ask, “Have you looked for work in the last four weeks?” and whatever people tell ’em is what they record. That’s why that margin of error is so high. This is not even a rigged Drive-By poll. It’s worse than that. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, he’s right. The Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment stuff is just a poll.
But it’s a poll that everybody has accepted by virtue of the fact that we talk about it every month as though the number is real, and then we parse it from there. Which we’ve done for years. But after that, Neil, don’t forget, then they “seasonally adjust.” And then they weekly revise. They tell us about the seasonal adjustments at the end of the season, but they don’t tell us about the weekly revisions. Well, they do tell us about the weekly revisions. They just don’t get reported. But he’s right, nevertheless.
The margin of error is plus-or-minus a hundred thousand. So it’s possible there were only 15,000 jobs created. It’s possible there were no jobs created, too. The margin of error is a hundred thousand, but who says it’s a hundred thousand? They do. The margin of error could be a hundred million. Well, it’s probably not that bad, but it cannot be a precise science. It just can’t be. So it is there to create an impression and a mood. Neil, thanks for the call.
Pete in New Orleans. Great to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Thank you for taking my call, Rush.
RUSH: You bet, sir.
CALLER: I know you’re a great, great economist and what have you. I mean, you have pretty much your pulse on a lot of what’s going on in the world. But my question is this: With such a huge deficit that the United States is operating in year after year, isn’t this fact draining the world of the funds that would otherwise go to, say, underdeveloped countries? By the fact that the American government is sapping all this money from these international funds…? I don’t hear any mention of “struggling economies” in the world having to pay, say, high interest rates because the American government is tapping all these funds and using most of this money for its own use.
RUSH: Well, now, wait, wait, wait. I’m losing you here because, as I’m understanding your question, let’s make up a country: San Cordoba. What right does San Cordoba have to our money? What does it matter whether we’re running a deficit in San Cordoba unless they’re using US dollars in, and they’re not. They’re using Cuban pesos, which are worthless.
CALLER: No, no. What I’m saying is, we’re going to China to borrow funds from China, and we’re the biggest borrower of Chinese money. Now, if we weren’t in the market borrowing this money from China, China would have to go to, say, Bangladesh or the Congo or Sudan. It could lend their money and these countries could borrow at a much lower rate.
RUSH: Well, wait a second. Wait a second. We are borrowing money from the ChiComs. They’re not getting money from us except interest payments as long as we make them. But we are depending on the ChiComs, and it’s not… I can see where you think it would be the other way around because we end up owing them big time and if they call the loan all hell could break loose.
RUSH: You’re saying if we were solvent and we didn’t need any money from the ChiComs, you’re asking who would they then lend it to?
CALLER: Well, they would probably lend to some of these underdeveloped countries who are struggling to run their governments
CALLER: You see what I’m saying?
CALLER: They would let you borrow at a much cheaper rate than they’re able to borrow now since the ChiComs would have this huge market in the United States to lend money to.
RUSH: I don’t know… Even with the circumstances that you’ve said, I don’t know what you’re asking me.
CALLER: Well, my —
RUSH: Or what problem you think exists because of our debt as it relates to the ChiComs and the Third World. I guess it’s the Third World I’m having trouble understanding.
CALLER: That’s right, the Third World. Yes. What I’m saying is the Third World, the world economies, are struggling right now to borrow for their own needs. Like Greece and Italy and Spain and all are probably having to pay high interest rates to the Chinese government to borrow. Because China could say, “Well, if you don’t borrow, I have a huge market in the United States that is willing to borrow from me at such a rate. If you want me to lend to you, you’re gonna have to beat the United States rate of interest.” And these countries are probably having trouble financing their own debts because, like I say, of all this money that the United States is using up in the world.
RUSH: Well, see the problem is if we had a global currency where everybody was using the same currency and we were spending it all and borrowing from everybody else and thereby preventing everybody else from borrowing money, I could understand that. But Greece and Spain use the Euro, and they’re primarily going to Germany for their financing.
CALLER: They’re going to China, too. I’ve read where the Chinese government was looking to finance some of these deficit spenders in Europe.
RUSH: Ok, so —
CALLER: And my thinking is that if they do finance these debts, they gonna probably finance ’em at the higher rate of interest because the United States is such a big user of Chinese funds.
RUSH: I’m sorry. I’m not able to get my arms around this. I’m not sure… Why don’t we try this: Why don’t you tell me what you think the problem is that the United States is in? Is that what you’re…?
CALLER: Well —
CALLER: No. What I’m saying is the fact that the United States is borrowing so much money is keeping some of these developing countries, Third World countries, from financing their own debt at more reasonable rates.
RUSH: Okay, so if we were more solvent and weren’t borrowing money from the Chinese, the Chinese would lend it to other poor countries, and the poor countries wouldn’t be as poor?
CALLER: No, they wouldn’t have to pay so much for the money, for the borrowing. Their interest rates would probably be a hell of a lot lower.
RUSH: So it’s our fault the Third World is the Third World?
CALLER: No, I’m not saying that. I’m not saying that… What I’m saying is —
RUSH: But you are saying that. You’re saying that we’re soaking up all the money because of our irresponsible spending. You sound like Obama to me. I didn’t think we had one of those in the audience. That’s why I’m having trouble. You sound like Obama. We’re responsible for Third World because we’re spending a lot money and therefore we’re stealing everybody’s resources and we are preventing San Cordoba from growing because we’re driving the cost of money up so high with our irresponsible borrowing and spending. Therefore the condition of the Third World is our fault because we’re so damn selfish.
If that’s what you think, then the guy who’s primarily responsible for this is Obama.
Because our borrowing has never been higher.
Our printing rate has never been higher.