I love baseball. I love the strategy employed by managers to attempt to control every facet of the game. I love it when things work out in their favor thinking that somehow their decision to pitch their ace right hander against the pinch hitter that hits .106 against righties works out in their favor. Maybe I just like having the odds in my favor.
I recall as an aspiring Little League all-star my father taking me out to the school yard daily to throw painted hard balls at me and command that I scream the color of the paint as I swung at his mighty fastball. Try having a dad that is 6’6” and throws a fastball at 80 mph at you when you are still finger painting in 4th period and have feelings of exhilaration for 6th period Spelling Bee’s. Talk about strategy! My dad was just putting the numbers in his favor to ensure that his son could hit a fastball. Excellent execution of a flawless strategy except for the night sweats that I have had for the past 40 years as I see orange, red and blue colored Rawlings hardballs flying past my head while my feet are cemented into the batter’s box!
Yes, I love baseball because one of the key concepts in baseball is to keep your eye on the ball. This artful concept works in politics as well, but since campaign managers wish to employ strategy to control the outcome of the game, oftentimes we are led to take our eye off of the ball. President Obama and his legion of campaign managers, media hacks and public puppet followers are doing all within their power to divert our eyes from the ball and maintain our focus on the pretty new uniforms, the front office, the visiting team and most of all ‘free cap’ night. Free caps for everyone! Hey, that guy has 2 caps! Give me one of yours! Pay your Fair Share! But I bought this one with my own money yells the capitalist fan. Your money is my money comes the reply.
I realize that I am 5,500 miles from home plate, but I cannot believe what I read on print media and what I hear on news outlets. Talk about taking your eye off the ball. Bain Capital? Hey Axelrod, get that one out on our news outlets and see if it sticks. Sorry Barry but Bill Clinton just praised the private equity industry! If that’s his ploy for Hillary 2016 I’ll have his head he screams from Honeywell. OK, retraction, Bill just said you will win by a landslide…. Ann Romney’s blouse? Governor Romney’s record as Governor? The Republican war on women? Dog vacations? 50 year old high school pranks? Willard Romney’s birth certificate? Donald Trump visits? Pay your fair share? Romney doesn’t relate to the middle class? I have eaten cotton candy at the ballpark before but the hyperbole spewing forth from these minions has more air and artificial syrup in it than you could fit into the San Onofre nuclear power plant. Don’t say nuclear Jay Carney, the Left hates that word. I cannot wait for the religious barbs, the man is too handsome, he was a draft dodger, his boys served “Mormon” missions, Ann doesn’t work (Oops, already floated that one and got slammed…… “I know three Hilary Rosen’s; to which do you refer” says Jay Carney… Seriously Mr. President, you didn’t see that question coming?). Mark my words, these curve balls will be forthcoming and will not strike home. Unfortunately for Mr. Obama, the Romney camp and most Americans have their eye on the ball. And I don’t really care what color that Rawlings is painted or how fast it is hurling toward home plate. The message on the ball is simple:
I have to hand it to the Obama administration. They play smart. When your middle relief pitching breaks down you have got to go to your closer and put strategy back in your favor. For those of you who don’t know, this administration only has one closer. It’s called the Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”) and this supposed non-partisan group holds in large part the future of Sir Debt Accumulator in their hands. You see it’s this group that produces the unemployment figures every month as we all anxiously hold our breath to see what falsified number they will actually produce. Unfortunately for Team Obama, the BLS has been more like Mitch Williams of the 90’s as a closer than Mariano Rivera of the 00’s. And much like Rivera’s torn ACL which will impact the Yankees run for the pennant this year, the BLS could become Obama’s Achilles Heel before November. Not that he hasn’t tried to pay off the umpires, hide sandpaper in his mitt (wow what a play on words) or pray for a rain out because he has. Well, maybe not the pray part because he usually golfs on Sundays. Sorry I digress. But yes it’s true, the BLS has been warming up in the bull pen for the past several months and you can bank on the idea that Team Obama will give them the ball at the end of the game. It’s really the only way that they have any chance to win the game. Let me explain….
If you don’t think that Americans have their eye on the ball, then you are not watching in High Definition. When the BLS comes out last week with the latest disappointing employment data and the stock market closes down 275 points on huge sales volume, that is a pretty good indication that the cotton candy tricks, new uniforms, cap night and every other Bain Capital distraction is not going to work. So if I am managing Team Obama and know that BLS is warming up in the bull pen, it’s time to increase our ability to win the game. So let’s look at what they have done over the past several months to adjust the odds in their favor and bring the unemployment rate down to its current sterling level of 8.2%. Yes, sarcasm intended! I know that Axelrod would heckle me relentlessly if he knew we were sharing these truths with concerned citizens but let’s face it; he just got heckled off stage in Boston so he knows how to handle it. Here are the scary BLS facts that Team Obama has up their sleeves:
1. Team Obama is deliberately undercounting the workforce to make unemployment appear to go down. But Leland you say, the rate is going up… Yes, this one is hard for me to believe also given the corruption of the figures. Moreover, given the fact that we keep adding people to the civilian population but somehow they do not get added to the work force is Obama fuzzy math for sure, but the rate just went up! Yeah, I know and the White House is fit to be tied. Hey get Debbie Wasserman Schultz out there and start talking up Wisconsin…. It’s actually incredible that the rate could actually go up when so much new math has taken place over the past 18 months.
2. Think about the “Labor force participation rate” (“LFPR”) over the past several months. I know you don’t want me to drone on about U3 and U6 classifications of workers but this is most interesting. You see the LFPR has gone from 65.7% (this means exactly what you think it means… 65.7% of the available work force is actually working) to 63.6 which is the most rapid decline in U.S. history in such a short time period. Yes, you just read that last sentence correctly. Better said, this means that under the Obama regime more than 5 million workers have left the labor force and are no longer counted in the numerator or denominator! They probably want and seek jobs but for unemployment purposes, they are no longer counted in an effort to bring down the unemployment rate!
3. Not to belabor the LFPR, but at the current declining trend line we will have 0% unemployment by November 2012 and a LFPR of 58.5%. Obama knows that no one is looking at the 58.5% figure but when unemployment goes to 0% the BLS could throw softballs to the plate and we would be swinging in vain! Oil Can Boyd could be pitching for all we know.
4. Amazingly the unemployment figures went up this past week with an anemic report of 69,000 new jobs added (have no fear that this number will be revised “downward” in weeks to come but AP or ABC really couldn’t say that now could they?). Gosh remember the George W. Bush days and the constant barrage of attacks for his 150,000 pitiful new jobs added month after month? And no, he wasn’t utilizing the new BLS standard as it relates to LFPR!
5. Given the huge precipitous drop in the LFPR as reported by the BLS, you have to start investigations do you not? Are the career bureaucrats there partial to President Obama and favorable towards promoting his political chances for re-election? Say it isn’t so Shoeless Joe! Has the Obama administration placed someone in a leadership slot over at the BLS or the unemployment statistics branch that is imposing this assumed sharp decline? Keith Hall, the former commissioner at the BLS and George W. Bush appointee, left BLS last year. Deputy Commissioner Philip Rones also left. Typically these positions are filled from within but the Obama administration has gone only so far as to name John Galvin as “acting” commissioner. Furthermore, they have refused to fill these top two positions which would require Senate approval, but so far the White House has circumvented this process by not nominating anyone! Terrific play! Let’s let Hilda Solis the Labor Secretary take over the supervision and I am sure she and her team of Teamsters will play ball following all the rules of the game. Right! She is so corrupt that her political appointee Carl Fillichio (the Department of Labor office of Public Affairs) is busy cleaning up her mess this week standing before a congressional hearing conducted by Darrell Issa. I love that guy.
So I don’t espouse conspiracy theories, but do you get the message? If the books weren’t being cooked by the Obama administration, this recession that you feel day in and day out would reflect an unemployment rate of anywhere from 11% to 15.1%. Sound more reasonable to you? Yeah, me too but so long as Team Obama can keep me busy worrying about Solyndra fact checking, tax rates for wealthy Americans, the evil Koch brothers, Cayman Island investments, Mitt Romney’s net worth, blaming the Republican do-nothing congress, and Michelle Obama’s arms then he can take my eye off the ball just long enough to get re-elected in November. For goodness sakes, if he really gets his BLS to produce a 0% unemployment rate with a 58.5% LFPR he will be a shoe in!
Unfortunately, his closer came out of the bullpen too early and we are dialed in on his fastball. Sorry Mr. President, but we see through the failed math that your BLS team instituted in 2011 and we can manage our team around your silly extrapolations. We know that we cannot convince your most ardent backers to evolve over to our side of the field (even though they agree with us on many issues) but unless you can maintain your grasp over the BLS, your days are numbered. Just like Mariano Rivera’s.
Leland Bruce is a commercial real estate professional with 21 years experience in the business. He is the Senior Managing Director for the firm Jones Lang LaSalle in Orange County, California. Prior to joining JLL, Mr. Bruce was honored continuously for 19 years as a Top Producer with The Staubach Company. He is a long-time friend and colleague of Roger Staubach (Leland currently resides in the nation of Chile).