John Lott v. Cactus in Graphs

Cactus catches the mendacity of John Lott who appeared on Faux News. Lott made two ridiculous claims which deserve to be attacked:

A little perspective on the economy would be helpful. The average unemployment rate during President Clinton was 5.2 percent. The average under President George W. Bush is just slightly below 5.2 percent. The current unemployment rate is 4.8 percent, almost half a percentage point lower than these averages … The economy slowed down significantly during the end of last year, but that was after a sizzling annual GDP growth rate of 4.9 percent in the third quarter.

The latter stands in contrast to Lott’s claim that 2000 was a recession year. One of the many contributions made by Kash when he posted here was to graph the economic evidence. I have struggled to make graphs that were in anyway close to what Kash produced, but let me suggest that the rebuttals from Cactus might be enhanced by a couple of graphs.

Our first graph confirms the 4.9% increase (annualized) in real GDP for the third quarter of 2007 in contrast to the dip in real GDP during the third quarter of 2000. But our graph shows that when comparing the other three quarters of these two years – 2000 dominated 2007. Lott should know better than to argue growth was great in 2007 but was negative in 2000. But then Lott chooses to mislead the viewers of Faux News. I guess he thinks these viewers are just too stupid not to see through his mendacity.

As far as his claims about the unemployment rate, it was 5.1% as of March 2007, which is significant higher than the 3.9% rate as of December 2000. In January 1993, the unemployment rate was 7.3%. Cactus correctly notes:

Put another way – it shrunk under Clinton, and rose under GW.

I think John Lott owes the viewers of Faux News an apology for assuming that they are stupid little children who deserve to be lied to.