The following is a take off on the classic “Who’s on First” baseball routine by Abbott and Costello.
Abbott and Costello Discuss America’s Unemployment Rate
COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America.
ABBOTT: Good subject. Terrible times, it’s 8.3%.
COSTELLO: That many people are outta work?
ABBOTT: No, that’s 16%.
COSTELLO: You just said 8.3%.
ABBOTT: 8.3% unemployed.
COSTELLO: Right, 8.3% outta work.
ABBOTT: No, 16%.
COSTELLO: Okay, so it’s 16% unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, 8.3%.
COSTELLO: WAIT A MINUTE! Is it 8.3% or 16%?
ABBOTT: 8.3% are unemployed; 16% are out of work.
COSTELLO: If you’re outta work, you’re unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, Obama doesn’t count the “Out of Work” as unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.
COSTELLO: BUT THEY’RE UNEMPLOYED!
ABBOTT: No, you miss his point.
COSTELLO: What point?
ABBOTT: Someone who doesn’t look for work can’t be counted with someone who’s looking for work. It wouldn’t be fair.
COSTELLO: To who?
ABBOTT: The unemployed.
COSTELLO: BUT THEY’RE ALL UNEMPLOYED!
ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are looking for work. Those who are out of work gave up looking, and if you give up looking for work, you’re off the unemployment roles.
COSTELLO: So if you’re off the unemployment roles, you’re not counted as unemployed?
COSTELLO: And the unemployment rate would go down?
COSTELLO: The unemployment rate goes down because you don’t look for work?
ABBOTT: Absolutely. That’s why it’s at 8.3%; otherwise it would be 16%. And Obama doesn’t want the unemployment rate at 16%.
COSTELLO: Because it would be harder for him to get reelected?
COSTELLO: Wait a minute … you mean there are two ways to bring down the unemployment rate?
ABBOTT: Two ways, absolutely.
COSTELLO: The unemployment rate can go down if you get a job?
COSTELLO: And the unemployment rate can go down if you stop looking for a job?
COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring down the unemployment rate, and the easier of the two is to just stop looking for work.
ABBOTT: Now you’re thinking like Obama’s Economy Czar.
COSTELLO: I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about!
ABBOTT: Now you’re thinking like Obama.