Jawbone of an Ass Department
The Bush Economic Policy Clown Show: in Side Ring I

The Bush Economic Policy Clown Show: in the Center Ring

Treasury "Secretary" John Snow humiliates himself yet again:

Gotcha!: Treasury Secretary John Snow... boasted... "Average hourly earnings are picking up. We learned from this month's jobs report that average hourly earnings have risen 3.8% over the past 12 months -- their largest increase in nearly five years." But Snow's briefers apparently didn't prepare him for questioning by Rep. Barney Frank....

"Mr. Secretary," Frank said, "I agree with much of your statement, but I confess to some trouble with your citation of the rise in hourly wages. What's the CPI increase over the past 12 months? Do you know?"

Replied Snow: "Well, about 5, I think, 5.1."

To which Frank said: "...[Y]ou would acknowledge that 3.8% increase in wages you're talking about is nominal, not adjusted for inflation, correct?"

Snow, who has a Ph.D. in economics, was a bit flummoxed at first. "I'll have to go back, Congressman, and check these numbers," he said.

"That's not a trick question," Frank insisted.

"I know it's not," replied the Treasury secretary. He then confirmed that the 3.8% was nominal, that is unadjusted for inflation.

"...I think it's misleading to talk about the 3.8% over 12 months when that doesn't take into account inflation.... I'd ask you to submit to us, what's it been over 24 months, 36 months and 48 months, because, in fact, during this recovery... wages have dropped... compared to inflation." Mr. Snow promised to deliver more numbers...