Abbott and Costello

To the Editor:

I came across an old Abbott & Costello skit which is updated to our current dilema. I hope your readers enjoy it.

COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America.

ABBOTT: Good Subject. Terrible Times. It's 7.8.

COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?

ABBOTT: No, that's 14.4.

COSTELLO: You just said 7.8.

ABBOTT: 7.8 percent unemployed.

COSTELLO: Right 7. 8 percent out of work.

ABBOTT: No, that's 14.4.

COSTELLO: Okay, so it's 14.4 percent unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, that's 7.8.

COSTELLO: WAIT A MINUTE. Is it 7.8 percent or 14.4 percent?

ABBOTT: 7. 8 percent are unemployed. 14.4 percent are out of work.

COSTELLO: If you are out of work you are unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, Obama said you can't count the "Out of Work" as the unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.


ABBOTT: No, you miss his point.

COSTELLO: What point?

ABBOTT: Someone who doesn't look for work can't be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn't be fair.

COSTELLO: To whom?

ABBOTT: The unemployed.

COSTELLO: But they are ALL out of work.

ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work. Those who are out of work gave up looking and if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.

COSTELLO: So if you're off the unemployment roles that would count as less unemployment?

ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!

COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don't look for work?

ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That's how Obama gets it to 7.8 percent. Otherwise it would be 14.4 percent. He doesn't want you to read about 14.4 percent unemployment.

COSTELLO: That would be tough on his reelection.

ABBOTT: Absolutely.

COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means there are two ways to bring down the unemployment number?

ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.

COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?

ABBOTT: Correct.

COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?

ABBOTT: Bingo.

COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to have Obama's supporters stop looking for work.

ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like the Obama Economy Czar.

COSTELLO: I don't even know what I just said!

ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like Obama.


Perry Green Manchester


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