Apparently, even with the economy obviously struggling, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity still feel the need to shamelessly mislead their listeners into thinking that President Obama's stewardship of the economy has been even worse than they realized. Last week, as Media Matters noticed, Limbaugh claimed that Obama "inherited" an unemployment rate of 5.7 percent. Last night, Sean Hannity echoed Limbaugh, except that Hannity's figures say that Obama inherited a slightly better 5.6 percent unemployment rate.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in January of 2009, when Obama took office, was 7.8 percent.
So what exactly is going on here? Did Limbaugh and Hannity really just make up a number out of whole cloth? Of course not they merely found a completely irrelevant number and used that.
Searching for where Rushity might have come up with this wildly inaccurate figure, we stumbled upon a blog post at the National Review, in which Greg Pollowitz explains:
But, no, Rush didn’t lie. The figure he’s using is an average for 2008.
For the record, the average unemployment rate for 2008 was 5.8 percent. Of course, the average unemployment rate for the entire year, whatever it was, has nothing to do with the unemployment rate Obama inherited, unless you ignore the financial crisis that fundamentally altered the economy before Obama took office. One critical National Review commenter made this comparison, and we can't put it any better:
If my dearly departed Uncle, who does not exist, had an average net worth of 10B the year he died but was worth nothing the day he died, cause he wanted to go out with a bang, then do I inherit 10B?
Take your time, Limbaugh and Hannity. This is a real brain teaser.