It was already a sham

The mainstream media errantly assumes that Hillary Clinton’s girlfriend’s silence about her sham-husband’s internet hijinks means that she is upset:

This raises the question one must ask of many a Good Wife — did Huma simply look the other way, unwilling to know what was going on in Anthony’s underpants? It was clear yesterday from her staunch refusal to play along with the sham that is her marriage that Huma, unlike her husband, is in no mood to lie about the state of her union.

Some women accept their husbands’ quirky habits. Mine likes to watch football. Weiner gets his jollies sexting with women, including one to whom he wrote he had a “ridiculous bulge in my shorts now. wanna see?” But being publicly outed as a woman scorned, whether it be online, in the flesh or on the phone, is too much to take. See ya, lover.

Washington has become the new Hollywood, beards and all.

Employment and depression

One thing that most people probably don’t realize is that in the pre-Samuelsonian era, depressions were generally viewed in terms of the supply and demand for labor rather than a via a money metric of consumption. One of the more remarkable things for a young economics student reading Keynes’s General Theory today is discovering how it reads more like an Austrian logic-based text than a modern macroeconomics statistical digest. Today, the employment level doesn’t even factor into the modern determination of whether the economy is growing or not. Hence the new economic oxymoron of “a jobless recovery”.

But by the older perspective, it is obvious that the USA is still in the same depression that it was in 2008. Consider the following labor report:

About 6.2 million Americans, 45.1 percent of all unemployed workers in this country, have been jobless for more than six months – a higher percentage than during the Great Depression.

Moreover, another little known fact is that the unemployment numbers provided for the Great Depression on an ex post facto basis by post-WWII economists were overstated because the BLS economist responsible, one Stanley Lebergott, counted many government workers as being unemployed. Michael Darby corrected for this and came up with the following numbers:

Year L D
1929 3.2% 3.2%
1930 8.7% 8.7%
1931 15.9% 15.3%
1932 23.6% 22.9%
1933 24.9% 20.6%
1934 21.7% 16.0%
1935 20.1% 14.2%
1936 16.9% 9.9%
1937 14.3% 9.1%
1938 19.0% 12.5%
1939 17.2% 11.3%
1940 14.6% 9.5%

Note that by this corrected measure, even the woefully misleading U3 unemployment measure is presently at the same level as 1937, and worse than 1930. At 15.8, the more relevant U6 measure is worse than 1931 and every year except 1932 and 1933, the absolute nadir of the Great Depression. It may be worth noting that adding the current 20.3 million government workers to the ranks of the unemployed, as per Lebergott, would increase the current U3 rate to 22.3 percent and the U6 rate to 29 percent, which exceeds even Lebergott’s calculation for 1933.

Given the slide in housing prices, the unemployment rates, and the length of joblessness, two things should be readily apparent. First, the economic contraction has not ended. Second, the GDP figures notwithstanding, it is a larger scale event than the Great Depression.

Readership and other trivialities

Being an armchair economist, I often find it interesting to look beyond the obvious numbers given the way they are so often misleading. For example, a few years ago, I used to be the third most-read WND columnist behind Ann Coulter and Pat Buchanan. Ann was head-and-torso beyond everyone else, and while I occasionally gave Pat a run for his money, his readership was usually ahead of mine by a decent margin. It’s been a while since I last looked into the matter, and since I no longer have direct access to their servers – I prefer to email my columns in so I didn’t bother to ask for it after one of the occasional structural reconfigurations – I began by looking at the Facebook Likes that are now attached to each column.

Unsurprisingly, by this metric, Ann Coulter is still the queen of WND. Here are the Likes for her last four columns compared to a few other selected writers, in order of average Likes.

232.0: Ann Coulter (253, 75, 243, 357)
75.5: Chuck Norris (39, 169, 60, 34)
41.5: Vox Day (60, 40, 40, 26)
35.0: Thomas Sowell (34, 36, 52, 18)
22.0: Ilana Mercer (15, 11, 56, 6)
13.5: John Stossel (19, 5, 19, 11)
10.0: Chrissy Satterfield (29, 11, 0, 0)
9.8: Pat Buchanan (18, 9, 1, 11)

From this, one would quite reasonably conclude that Ann’s columns are much more read than anyone else’s, something on the order of five times more than mine. Chuck’s average is high, but it’s bumped up significantly by one outlier of a column entitled “The Self-Destructing Republican Party”, which went over extremely well with Republicans terrified that their leadership is going to blow their opportunity to knock off Obama. In looking at the actual readers of those same columns for Buchanan, Coulter, and Day – which I requested and cannot directly divulge, but suffice it to say they are in excess of my blog numbers – my WND readership is now 60.7 percent of Miss Coulter’s, which is up more than 10 percentage points from several years ago if I recall correctly.

What I found both interesting and slightly depressing is the fact that Chatterfield’s columns are now more liked, on average, than Pat Buchanan’s. This tends to suggest that WND readers have become more partisan and less partial to intellectual weight as their numbers have grown. While Mr. Buchanan’s readership numbers have not actually declined over time, they have declined in a relative manner as my WND readership is now 122.9 percent larger than his. Of course, it must be kept in mind that although his columns were available elsewhere before, it is entirely possible that many of his biggest fans do not read him at WND, but prefer to read him at The American Conservative instead.

It’s also worth noting that the difference in the size of the Like gap and the readership gap between Coulter and myself tends to indicate that while many WND readers are willing to read my column, they don’t like them all that much. Which makes an amount of sense, given that WND’s conservative Republican readership are likely to hold opinions that are more in line with hers than with my radical libertarian iconoclasm.

Regardless, because I am unwilling to cede primacy of position to Miss Coulter, however much she merits it, (or however little she values it), I intend to resort to cheatingnew tactics. Now, I like to think that I am unusually good at interviews because I am apparently one of the very few interviewers who makes a habit of a) reading the book or the relevant information beforehand and b) letting the interviewee talk as much as he likes in answer to my questions. However, I have done very few interviews in the last year because it is a tedious and lengthy task to transcribe them.

The solution being entirely obvious, I’m pleased to say there will soon be a second weekly Vox Day contribution appearing on WorldNetDaily. The initial subjects will include economist Ian Fletcher, Karl Denninger of the Market Ticker, and the eminent historian John Julius Norwich, among others. I am also in the process of putting together a Joel Rosenberg retrospective which will feature several notable science fiction and fantasy authors.