VIDEO: Nathan Deal, Unemployment Truther
The stress of a tight reelection race has finally gotten to Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. At a press conference he convened today to defend the fact that the state’s unemployment rate spiked to 8.1 percent this month, the governor went on a bizarre rant about how unnamed actors were conspiring to raise the unemployment rate in Georgia and other states run by Republican governors.
The truth, as Jason Carter put it, is that the “news is a direct result of the Governor’s failed education and economic policies.”
So, Governor, it’s time to put the tinfoil hats away and get to work for Georgia’s devastated middle class.
Here’s the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJbarHr6wGw
Here’s the story, highlighting Deal’s bizarre unemployment trutherism:
Gov. Nathan Deal blamed “historically faulty” data and suggested politicking was behind this month’s unemployment rate hike. Democrat Jason Carter called it a sign of Deal’s failed leadership. And Libertarian Andrew Hunt used it to press a plan to eliminate more taxes.
The jobless rate, which surprised many analysts by jumping to 8.1 percent in a report issued today, has sent a charge through the governor’s race. It also put Deal, a Republican who has put his economic agenda at the center of his campaign, on the defensive.
The governor set out to question how federal labor officials crunched the numbers. Initial applications for unemployment dropped by 27 percent in August and 25,000 new jobs were added that month, according to the report.
“I don’t know who you reconcile that. We are seeing job growth,” said Deal. “The data has been historically faulty. These are surveys and estimates that the Labor Department is putting out, and every year since I was governor they’ve had to come back and adjust it downwards. They’ve always been high, and I believe they are again this year.”
Echoing Labor Commissioner Mark Butler, Deal said federal officials eventually lowered unemployment figures from July and August of last year after crunching more data. He added that the jobless rate is still down two percentage points from when he took office, and cited federal data that showed about 540,000 jobs were created in his tenure.’
He also suggested a more devious plot was at hand.
“It’s ironic that in a year when Republican governors are leading some of the states making the most progress, that they almost, without exception, are classified with having a bump in unemployment rates. And states under a Democratic governor’s control are all showing that their unemployment rate has dropped. And I don’t know how you account for that. Maybe there is some influence here that we don’t know about. But when you say that California is in a better position in terms of unemployment than the state of Georgia, there’s something that doesn’t ring true.”
Across town, Carter held a press conference that my AJC colleague Nicholas Fouriezos caught. The Democrat sought to capitalize on the surprise increase, repeating the campaign line that “we are reaping what we have sown.”
Carter, a state senator, said the economy would improve on his watch by focusing more on small-business growth and increasing education funding.
“This horrible economic news is a direct result of the Governor’s failed education and economic policies,” he said.
Hunt, the third-party candidate, crashed Carter’s event and spoke after the Democrat had ceded the podium. He said he would reduce the unemployment rate to 5 percent by eliminating certain payroll taxes and reducing regulations.
“We have a program that takes money from small businesses, small owns, small cities, and gives it to large, billion-dollar corporations,” Hunt said.
“We have to turn that around.”