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September 10, 2004 9:21 AM   Subscribe

Dick Cheney claims that disappointing jobs numbers are undercounting ebay power sellers. The man is on a tear!
posted by luser (47 comments total)

 
If he is left jobless this fall, I propose we give Dick a radio talk show. He never ceases to amaze!
posted by clango at 9:27 AM on September 10, 2004


And Edwards replied that if we count all the money from lemonade stands and Girl Scout cookie sales then this economy will be on a real tear.

Great response!
posted by nofundy at 9:31 AM on September 10, 2004


If he is left jobless this fall

Or he could start selling stuff on eBay, seeing how that's so lucrative.

A++++ WOULD BUY USED HALLBURTON CONTRACTS FROM DCHENEY69 AGAIN!!!!1!!
posted by mathowie at 9:31 AM on September 10, 2004


Ya, and I bet some of these jobs might even be manufacturing jobs. Lucky duckies everywhere you look!

I say we all do our part to give bush and cheney sufficient free time to participate in the e-bay economy first-hand! (on preview, what mathowie said.)
posted by madamjujujive at 9:34 AM on September 10, 2004


Wow. I mean, wow. Of course, in the same speech, he's still insisting that Saddam "provided safe harbour and sanctuary as well for al-Qaeda." Unbelievable.

Edwards's response, though, was awesome. Can't wait to hear what Meg Whitman has to say...
posted by mkultra at 9:43 AM on September 10, 2004


...not to mention all the CafePress commissions.
posted by eatitlive at 9:51 AM on September 10, 2004


And this morning Cheney's backing off from linking Kerry and terrorism (love the sneer, Dick!) ala his ridiculous quote "It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on November 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States."

Loose cannon? Or is he just trying to demonstrate that there are differences between Dick and Bush?
posted by fenriq at 9:51 AM on September 10, 2004


Or is he just trying to demonstrate that there are differences between Dick and Bush?

No, that's what he was doing when he said "Go Cheney yourself!"
posted by nofundy at 9:53 AM on September 10, 2004


Whiskey.
Tango.
FOXTROT.
Dick?!?!?!?!
posted by keswick at 9:56 AM on September 10, 2004


A large fraction of these ebay transactions take place while people are ostensibly working for their employers; it is double-dip income and actually should be subtracted from the GNP as it represents negative productivity.

How much I would like to know. I bet it is at least fifty percent.
posted by bukvich at 10:00 AM on September 10, 2004


The man is desperate.
posted by fleener at 10:02 AM on September 10, 2004


Yeah, and what about all those people who are raking it in by selling plasma and sperm?
posted by spilon at 10:02 AM on September 10, 2004


Plus Google Ads! I mean, 10 years ago there was no such thing as Google Ad Millionaires, and now there must be ... well .... one or two at least, I assume.

And thank goodness it looks like these eBay billionaires will still be able to get overtime pay!
posted by terrapin at 10:09 AM on September 10, 2004


Once they start counting incomes by street hookers and drug dealers it will be shown that the economy is skyrocketing indeed!
posted by clevershark at 10:09 AM on September 10, 2004


Jesus. A less slanted version of the same story points out that Cheney cited Ebay as one example that could explain why the payroll and household surveys can diverge.

bukvich-- Cheney said nothing about GNP (or GDP) as far as I can tell.

But don't let the truth get in the way of a good mocking.

The nuanced Left, my ass.
posted by Kwantsar at 10:14 AM on September 10, 2004


Um, folks, Dick Cheney is going to say something outrageous every day from now to Nov. 2. Are all of his comments going to be FPP-worthy? Is this?
posted by soyjoy at 10:16 AM on September 10, 2004


This doesn't even make sense. I have a eBay feedback rating of 150+, so I hardly qualify as a power seller myself, but I know that my activity buying and selling music equipment over the past four years has netted more for FedEx and UPS than it has for yours truly. There are no stats on this, but in my experience dealing with Power Sellers, these are generally people who have tapped into some wholesale or used goods supply source chain and, rather than set up a physical storefront, do it on line. These are people whose livelihoods depend on this, and wouldn't be characterized as unemployed anyway. I can't even guess how large this market is, but it would be hard to believe that eBay Power Sellers account for more than 1% or 1% of all retail activity.
posted by psmealey at 10:16 AM on September 10, 2004


Kwantsar, this is the second time the GOP has cited eBay as an unreported source of income.

Dick and Bush will do pretty much anything to buoy up those terrible job numbers.

And you're saying its now untrue to cite a point made in the article? Cheney did say that eBay numbers skew the jobless figures, what's wrong with pointing out the obvious fact that he's off his friggin' rocker?
posted by fenriq at 10:20 AM on September 10, 2004


I am delighted that Cheney has said this and that, earlier, he claimed we would be targets for terror in Kerry won (was Kerry president on 9/11?). I had thought that Bush was a misfit but had surrounded himself with clever blokes. Now I see that they are all amaziangly inept and ramble on with garbage in a manner that is insulting to the American public. where was Dick and W when the No Child Left Behind program was (supposed) to be in place?
posted by Postroad at 10:20 AM on September 10, 2004


You're wrong, psmealey.

If you are self-employed as an Ebay retailer, the payroll survey will not count you.
posted by Kwantsar at 10:25 AM on September 10, 2004


Bush and Cheney do a lot better when they pretend these problems don't exist rather than try to make excuses for them.
posted by turaho at 10:27 AM on September 10, 2004


The same classification would be true of entrepreneurs, independent contractors and freelancers of all stripes, Kwantsar. Not so? Why zero in on eBay sellers?
posted by psmealey at 10:29 AM on September 10, 2004


Why must you be such a smart ass? Oh, I guess it's because you're smart.

It is true that there's a large and growing stealth economy of individuals working from home who aren't paying taxes and/or don't show up in Labor Statistics. Which probably means that today's 5.5% unempoyment rate, as good as it is, actually reflects a lower unemployment rate than it did 10 or more years ago: more proof that the economy is good, or very good, if not great.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:30 AM on September 10, 2004


One wag on Atrios says "Let them eat E-bay!" and another calls this the "Garage Sale Economy."

Guess the current junta is getting desperate to make their own projections. They'll have to do better than this if they want to avoid ignominiously lagging in the history books.

Here's hoping e-bay can support 20,000 more folks.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:32 AM on September 10, 2004


fenriq-- I'm saying that it's fucking ridiculous that instead of trying to understand and discuss the gap between the surveys, or at least acknowledge the context of Cheney's remarks, many here choose this as just another opportunity for a pile-on. It's taking something out of context and making hay.

It's a sophomoric wankfest, it calls attention away from the real issues, it educates no one, and it generates far more heat than light.

If the Left is correct (and I'm not saying that it's not), it should be able to put forth a credible and intelligent argument, instead of cherry-picking context-free news stories.
posted by Kwantsar at 10:34 AM on September 10, 2004


So according to the president, raising taxes on the rich is a waste of time because they'll find a way to avoid paying anyway. According to Paris, the economy must be good because there are lots of people working from home who aren't paying taxes. I'm beginnng to feel like a middle class sucker.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:37 AM on September 10, 2004


The same classification would be true of entrepreneurs, independent contractors and freelancers of all stripes, Kwantsar. Not so? Why zero in on eBay sellers?

Because it's not a policy brief or a research report! It's an example, given in a (relatively informal) town hall meeting.

Remember how much flak Gore caught for his laundry-lists and opaque illustrations during the 2000 campaign? Remember the "wonk" tag that was so often cited as a reason that he didn't connect with voters? Cheney is not making that mistake.

Cheney may be evil, dirty, self-interested, etc., but I'm certain he's bright enough to have a grasp on the surveys, and why they differ. And he's a skilled enough politician to knows his audience.

Instead of mocking Cheney for the examples he chooses, maybe the Dems (and their sympathizers) ought to study his delivery and adopt it as their own.
posted by Kwantsar at 10:46 AM on September 10, 2004


If the Left is correct (and I'm not saying that it's not), it should be able to put forth a credible and intelligent argument, instead of cherry-picking context-free news stories.

Is appropriately chided.



*keeps on laughing 'cause I just can't help it*
posted by jokeefe at 10:53 AM on September 10, 2004


i am so ashamed of Kwantsar.
posted by quonsar at 11:12 AM on September 10, 2004


I'm as Old Left as they come but, to be perfectly honest, you Democrats are starting to sound just as shill as the Republicans. Taking this completely out of context is as bad as the right's harping about how Kerry voted for things before he voted against them, or whatever.

The debate in this election seems to be permanently stuck at this FreeRepublic/DemocraticUnderground level. I fear for your country.
posted by reklaw at 11:14 AM on September 10, 2004


Kwanster, your "two reports" meme just covers up another disparity- even if your argument that "effective unemployment" is low, real wages have dropped. Even if you're employed, odds are your income has not increased enough recently to offset inflation.

Another point: The rise of "self employment" (and, along with that, Bush's dream of "a nation of small business owners") is extremely unhealthy in the long run, for a number of reasons:

- Statistically, most small businesses fail.
- Even if your "small business" does not fail, your income is rarely consistent, if it's there at all.
- "Self employed" is often applied to contract workers, who are an increasingly large part of corporate labor pools. These people get no benefits, and generally do not work year-round.

This trend hurts the average worker, and encourages corporations to show less and less loyalty to the people to earn them money.
posted by mkultra at 11:17 AM on September 10, 2004


I am delighted that Cheney has said this ... Now I see that they are all amaziangly inept and ramble on with garbage in a manner that is insulting to the American public

why does this delight you?
posted by glenwood at 11:26 AM on September 10, 2004


Kwantsar--the household survey asks people if they're self-employed, and, while the number of self-employed has increased over the past four years, the rise only accounts for about 10% of the discrepancy with the payroll survey. Every serious economist (who's not actively working to reelect Bush) will tell you that the payroll survey is more accurate than the household survey. Even Alan Greenspan, who's as conservative as they come, has testified before congress that the payroll survey is more accurate than the household survey.

The reason is clear if you understand how they work. Both surveys are based on sampling, but the payroll survey is recalibrated every year based on unemployment claims, which can be counted exactly, whereas the household survey is based on census estimates of the population, which are only recounted every 10 years. For example, during the late nineties, the household survey was significantly lower than the payroll survey. It turns that the census department underestimated the number of immigrants, who were drawn to the county by the booming economy, but we didn't find out until the census was performed in 2000. It's more than likely that the census department is currently overestimating immigration, given the much-weaker job market and the post-9/11 border tightening.
posted by electro at 11:36 AM on September 10, 2004


more proof that the economy is good, or very good, if not great.

yep. 4 more years!
posted by terrapin at 11:36 AM on September 10, 2004


Because it's not a policy brief or a research report! It's an example, given in a (relatively informal) town hall meeting.

That's really my point, Kwantsar. He's relying on mainstream ignorance outside of "technology elites" to paint a picture of a glorious brave new world boom in eBay-based home retailers (though many Power-Sellers are, in fact, brick and mortar retailers using eBay as a new sales channel). When, in reality, the number of people who sell on eBay to make a living is dwarfed by the number of people who do freelance, contract consulting or other 1099-misc work, and therefore have the same employment status from the two reports you cite. It's a red herring.

Also, don't give Cheney too much credit. His career is an example of the Peter Principle run amok.
posted by psmealey at 11:36 AM on September 10, 2004


btw... take that Rolling Stone article with a grain of salt. It's a bit of a hack job, but an amusing read nonetheless on the career of the man some call "the smartest man they've ever met".
posted by psmealey at 11:47 AM on September 10, 2004


Perhaps Mr. Cheney needs the Mood leveling drugs like his Boss.
posted by rough ashlar at 11:48 AM on September 10, 2004


terrapin, nice graphic! Does a pretty good job of illustrating what an utter failure Bush has been. Shame its not a bit bigger to be more legible.
posted by fenriq at 11:58 AM on September 10, 2004


Very nice post Electro, I learned something interesting. Even in generally pointless threads like this one a gem almost invariable appears.
posted by sic at 11:59 AM on September 10, 2004


more proof that the economy is good, or very good, if not great.

So the economy is "good if not great," eh?

Here's the real conundrum: What is happening right now in the economy is more of a structural thing than it is a right-left thing. The right cannot admit this because to do so is to admit that maybe the economy isn't so great after all. The left can't admit it because to do so is to admit that the problems aren't entirely the fault of the current administration.
posted by kgasmart at 12:17 PM on September 10, 2004


I like to be as well-contexted as the next guy, but let's keep in mind -- no one here took it out of context, the article did. Thanks to Kwantsar we have context, but that doesn't mean the original quote isn't funny.
posted by o2b at 12:19 PM on September 10, 2004


fenriq: here you go.
posted by sklero at 12:24 PM on September 10, 2004


sklero, sweet, now can you get me a corned beef sandwich and a beer?

Just kidding, thanks for finding and posting it!
posted by fenriq at 1:21 PM on September 10, 2004


spilon: You can sell sperm? I am so there.

You mean I was just wasting all those income opportunities on eBay for the past three years after getting laid off from a $63k job Dickie? Oh well. Good thing I have a part-time job now at $7 an hour (computer lab aid here at school where I'm reading MeFi right now) while I get a degree in a new field. You guys can chalk me up as back in the "employed" column now! Way to go, Dick! The recovery rolls on...
posted by AstroGuy at 3:32 PM on September 10, 2004


Instead of mocking Cheney for the examples he chooses, maybe the Dems (and their sympathizers) ought to study his delivery and adopt it as their own.

this is even funnier than Cheney's delirium: adopt his delivery? it is one thing to argue that Bush's "fuzzy math" aw-shucks shtick is somehow effective (sadly, it probably is. the "I'm-too-dumb-to-be-considered-reponsible-for-my-actions-and-words shtick did work for Reagan after all).
but Cheney? this is the guy who voted to keep Mandela in jail and never felt the need to apologize, for Chrissakes. who "misspoke" and gave you the "mushroom cloud" bald-faced lies that dragged America into the Iraqi slaughterhouse. this is the guy who looks so angry and hateful that he makes Tom DeLay looks like a genuinely nice guy.

you must have been making too much money off eBay, Kwantsar. thus, you've saved America's economy but you have lost touch with, like, the news
posted by matteo at 5:26 PM on September 10, 2004


My thinking on this is that 1)it would be pretty easy to find out how many ebay power sellers there are 2) that this is (if Cheney) meant to appeal to people who haven't sold on ebay, and don't really understand how it works. The sort of people who see "Start an Ebay Business" books and assume there are people making millions off ebay. To really make a sustainable income off ebay, you either have to have a good wholesale source for items or an in depth knowledge about a particular area (such as antiques), either of which would mean you have probably been self-employed for a while.
posted by drezdn at 10:55 PM on September 10, 2004


The underlying problem here is that there is no interest by anyone in government to compile accurate statistics about employment, underemployment or unemployment. They have all figured out that such statistics are only useful to attack the other guy with--they are offensive weapons--yet serve little constructive purpose for *them*, the government.

The underlying methodology for compiling these statistics was invented a very long time ago, for a very different economy, and they are no longer valid. The government knows this, and so you see weak arguments like Cheney's, that point to sections of the economy *outside* of the statistics, to support their arguments. But never, ever, any interest in changing how the statistics are compiled.

"It would be too difficult, or it just couldn't be done," is what they say when confronted about this. But that is just hooey.
posted by kablam at 8:14 AM on September 11, 2004


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