Who you gonna believe, me or your lyin’ eyes?

Krugman seems astounded that a political figure would go on the teevee and lie. That’s kind of cute, that it still surprises him:

OK, that’s weird. I just taped This Week, which included an interview with Christine Lagard, the French finance minister. In her defense of austerity, she asserted that unemployment in France is down from 9.6 to 9.3. But I looked it up on Eurostat (pdf), which has French unemployment in August at 10.1, up from 9.6 a year ago.

Maybe she has somewhat different data — French concepts versus harmonized? was that a September number? — but one thing is clear: if the unemployment decline isn’t visible in the standard numbers, it can’t be that solid.

2 thoughts on “Who you gonna believe, me or your lyin’ eyes?

  1. What’s really interesting to me is that, as I understand European counts of unemploymet, they count every single person not employed — while we use the U3 number, those actively looking for work which usually means those on unemployment comp.

    So, if France is at 9.3% or 9.6% or even 10.1%, it means they have far better employment numbers than the US does. Which in no way negates Krugman’s main point, that austerity doesn’t, usually, increase employment.

    Poor Finance Minister, having to support Sarkozy.

  2. I saw that too, and I said to myself, who in the HELL talks numbers like that while people are demonstrating in the street??? SHe was soooo obviously being “truthy” I had to change the channel!

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