Insights on unemployment, national debt and diversion of highway taxes

The Gallup poll’s CEO has accused politicians and the media of lying.

Jim Clifton has been Gallup’s CEO for over 25 years. He writes that politicians and the media are lying about America’s job situation.

As Clifton notes, it’s lying to claim unemployment is only 5.6 percent, as proclaimed by the media, the White House, Wall Street and others, because that number is a fiction. It’s false because 30-million adults are either out of work or severely underemployed.

When anybody gives up looking for work, the government says that improves the unemployment rate. If you work only one hour a week, they count you as employed.

Yet only 44 percent of adults have full-time jobs, meaning at least 30 hours a week.

The President and friends keep proclaiming that Obama has brought back prosperity. But when the CEO of Gallup labels this a big lie, everyone ought to pay attention.

In other news, Washington doesn’t want to talk about our national debt.

We spend $200-billion a year on a federal program that buys us nothing.

That’s the annual interest on our national debt, which is now over $18-trillion.

We’re lucky interest is only $200 Billion a year, because that’s a rate of barely 1 percent. So each 1 percent rate hike would cost us another $200 Billion. The interest is only 1 percent in large part because the Federal Reserve has become the main lender, effectively printing more dollars and loaning it to our Treasury — over $2 trillion since 2008.

And during that time, the Obama Presidency, our national debt has soared by $7 Trillion, and now the president claims we’re still not spending enough. But don’t blame Obama alone. 

Congress dodges tough decisions like spending cuts, and goes along with more debt instead.

Families cannot get away with borrowing forever. And neither can America.

Finally, there’s this: If you drive, you’re required to pick up hitchhikers. Sort of.

There’s a push to raise the federal gasoline tax. But that will never fix the problem of under-funding roads and highways.

That’s because large amounts of gasoline taxes are siphoned off to pay for public transit. It’s used to pay for other people to ride buses and rail systems. Also gasoline taxes are spent building trails for bicyclists and hikers.

In essence, drivers are required to give other people a ride. So call them hitchhikers.

Road money also is wasted by federal red tape that makes road-building more expensive and often delays roads for years.

If the feds won’t use all the gasoline money for roads—like they did originally–then we shouldn’t have a federal gasoline tax. Instead, the states could control gasoline taxes and make sure that highway trust funds are actually used only for honest-to-goodness highways.

NOTE: Istook is a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Oklahoma City. He is now a national commentator, and works with America’s leading conservative public policy “think tank,” the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.