EDITORIAL: Falsifying government reports to get re-elected?

Obama’s too-good-to-be-true economic performance was just that

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When government pays for something, it gets more of it. For the past five years, Congress has been pushing “emergency” subsidies for long-term unemployment, and, not surprisingly, we’ve been getting more joblessness — a fact some have been working overtime to conceal.

When President Obama took office, there were 2.7 million who had spent at least three years jobless. Now, 4.1 million fall into that category, demonstrating that government “help” isn’t always an improvement. Yet congressional Democrats still want more. On Tuesday, they demanded House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp bring up legislation to extend unemployment benefits indefinitely. That will only make a bad situation worse.

Democrats want to have it both ways. Unemployment is a terrible problem when they’re looking to justify more handouts, but when Mr. Obama is up for re-election, happy days are here again. Bureaucrats at the Labor Department and Census Bureau worked around the clock last year to ensure that voters wouldn’t be left with the impression that four years of Obamanomics had damaged the economy. On Inauguration Day 2009, the unemployment rate was 7.8 percent, but the first unemployment report released in 2012 counted a jobless rate of 8.5 percent. With Election Day approaching, they knew something had to be done.

By October, the unemployment figure had been brought down to the magic number of 7.8 percent, enabling the president to campaign around the country touting reports of the jobless rate “tumbling” and “plunging.” Many at the time found the numbers a bit too convenient to be true, and now we know why. The New York Post says it has documents confirming that a Census Bureau employee put a shine on the pre-election figures on orders from his superiors.

According to The Post, the Census surveyor would call homes to ask about employment status. If the phone was busy, he would fill out the survey form as though the person called had just been offered a new position. Presto, thousands of jobs were “created.” Those responsible for the deception didn’t give much thought to the negative consequences of this deception.

Rep. Darrell E. Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, informed Census Bureau Director John Thompson of his intention to open a formal investigation. “These allegations are shocking,” wrote Mr. Issa. “The implications of an unreliable unemployment figure are serious and far-reaching. The national unemployment rate affects everything from legislation on Capitol Hill, to Federal Reserve policy, to stock prices on Wall Street.”

The Census Bureau scandal is just one of many instances of the administration employing deception to accomplish political goals. In the Fast and Furious scandal, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives lied to Congress about its scheme of running guns to Mexican drug lords. After the tragedy in Benghazi, administration officials made up a bogus story about a YouTube video to conceal the true nature of the terrorist attack. The Internal Revenue Service singled out conservative and Tea Party groups for discrimination, but it blamed what happened on low-level rogue agents in Ohio, when the orders came from Washington. The biggest fib of all has proved to be “If you like your health plan, you can keep it.”

The millions currently stuck in the unemployment lines today don’t need handouts; they need honesty. Their plight comes from a lack of opportunity as Obamanomics and Obamacare have saddled business with red tape and uncertainty. The first step in shortening those lines is telling the truth.

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