Not much thinking going on at American Thinker

At the "American Thinker," a relatively widely-read conservative web site with serious writers and real staff, Chriss Street makes the assertion:
One of the reasons the reported unemployment rate isn't higher is that the State of California's [sic] statistically considers all 1,427,000 welfare recipients to be "employed."
No evidence is given to support this assertion; the link is to a blog that makes the same unsupported assertion.

This statement was so ridiculous on its face that I responded instinctively:
Get your facts right, moron.

All welfare cases are not counted as employed in the official unemployment stats. Where would you even come up with something so absurd?
Admittedly, it's bad form to initiate a discussion by calling someone a moron, but the combination of ignorance and arrogance by a publication proclaiming itself the "American Thinker" is enough to make me do Very Bad Things.

Street responded:
It is referred to as "welfare to work". It can be training, counseling or education that is treated as "employed": http://www.ppic.org/content/pubs/report/R_512CDR.pdf
... which obviously doesn't support the assertion, but does give an indication of where Street came up with such a dunderheaded idea.

My response:
If you have any sources to back up your assertion, I would be most interested to read.

From the link you provide: "As Table 3 shows, less than a third of parents in CalWORKs families were working at all in 2009 (27%)"

As I'm sure you know, the enforcement of the "job-related-activities" rules are pretty lax. Basically, you say you read the help wanted ads and put in a job application somewhere, etc., and they're not going to kick you off welfare.

But participating in a minimal job search or "training" enough to get TANF doesn't count as employment. The unemployment stats come from the BLS household survey, where they ask people if they're employed, looking for work, etc. Looking for work doesn't count as employed.



So where do you get the idea that nonworking TANF recipients are being counted as employed?
Credibility is a precious thing, and easy to lose. American Thinker squanders it by publishing unvetted material from unproven writers.


Left Coast Rebel said...

There's occasionally good stuff on there but a lot of mediocre neo-con stuff too.

Mutnodjmet said...

Good catch, WC. And, while I personally generally like to avoid insulting terms, I think it served as a wake-up call to the writer...so your instincts proved sound.

Zeke said...

Taking ad hominem away from WCV is taking arrows away from the Indian.

Happy Super Tuesday!