(Also known as the Obama Re-election strategy)
A math lesson for children, the mathematically impaired, and registered Democrats.
A percentage is a method for expressing a ratio. A ratio is a division problem whose result (R) is derived by dividing a numerator (N) by a denominator (D).
R = N / D
The same N divided by a bigger D yields a smaller R. The same N divided by a smaller D yields a bigger R. A bigger N divided by the same D yields a bigger R. A smaller N divided by the same D yields a smaller R. If you have no freakin' idea where N and D came from, then R is just a number.
Perhaps an example will help.
If Little Johnny shows Little Janet his 6 apples, and gives her 3; he has shared 6 / 3 = 50% of his apples. Little Johnny is really fair, isn't he?
But - if Little Johnny hides 2 of his apples, shows Little Janet 4 of them, and gives her 2; Janet thinks he has shared 4 / 2 = 50% of his apples, when in fact he only shared 6 / 2 = 33% of his apples. Little Johnny looks fair to Janet, but still in fact keeps more for himself. Clever devil.
Got that? OK, let's have some fun with ratios, kiddies!
A year ago, in January 2011 the official labor participation rate (people who have or want a job) was 64.2% and official unemployment was 9.1% This month the numbers are 63.7% and 8.3%, respectively.
Assume a static pool of 1000 people who could use work.
A year ago 642 of these people were counted because they were either actually employed or showed up to be counted by the nameless and faceless bureaucrat as looking for work. 58.5 of them couldn't find a job and kept on reporting this in order to collect the Unemployment Insurance (UI). 58.5? Sorry, that's just the math, maybe imagine one doing black market work under the table while collecting the UI. Official unemployment is therefore published at 9.1%.
Now, a year later, 5.5 of the people looking for work got so fed up they stopped showing up to be counted by the nameless and faceless bureaucrat. Or maybe it's 5 got fed up and the black market guy went completely underground. Never mind. Now the gub'ment calculates official unemployment as 637 / 53 = 8.3%
See how that works, kiddies?
DOWD: You got played...
8 minutes ago