The fact that Governor Kristi Noem is not only ignoring valid and instructive policy questions from the senior journalist in Pierre but freaking out over the reporter’s critique of a diversionary heading on a gubernatorial press release (seriously, read Noem’s headline, then assess its relevance to the real news announced, the rejection of additional unemployment benefits) indicates Noem’s contempt for both the media and substantive public policy discussion:
“The governor issued a public statement on the matter. That’s her statement,” Maggie Seidel said. “You may not appreciate them, but nevertheless the facts and reasons for her decision are all laid out in the statement.
“To pretend like she hasn’t addressed the subject or outlined her thought process isn’t fair or accurate. The critique of the headline is surreal – I’ve literally never had a journalist attack a press release headline in my entire career,” Seidel continued [Bob Mercer, “S.D. Governor’s Office Stands by Unemployment Statement, Declines to Answer Questions,” KELO-TV, 2020.08.20].
But as an undercard, spurned reporter Bob Mercer notices another detail in Governor Kristi Noem’s strange obfuscation her benefit-rejection decision that demonstrates her ongoing contempt for math and truth:
The governor’s August 14 statement included this sentence: “South Dakota’s economy, having never been shut down, has recovered nearly 80% of our job losses.” A long-term chart of South Dakota unemployment, distributed in a packet Tuesday to the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors, shows data that indicates otherwise: Continued claims rose sharply as COVID-19 spread in South Dakota, climbing from fewer than 5,000 to a peak of more than 25,000, before declining to 14,428 on the chart [Mercer, 2020.08.20].
Here’s the chart to which Mercer refers:
Hmmm… the orange curve for 2020 looks to be around 3,000 continued claims for unemployment insurance pre-pandemic. It touches 25,000 at Week 20 of this year. That’s 22,000 jobs we could reasonably ascribe to the sudden coronavirus recession. The Bureau of Finance and Management specifies 14,428 ongoing claims at Week 32. That’s about 10,600 claims cleared, which we’ll assume means 10,600 South Dakotans’ off the dole and back to work. That’s (10,600/22,000) about 48% of the job loss recovered, 52% remaining.
Yeah, there’s a pretty big difference between saying you’ve gotten rid of 80% of your economic damage and saying that you still have more than half of that damage to clean up.
I suppose Bob Mercer could ask Governor Noem to clarify which figures she used to derive her 80% recovery claim… but then she’d prbably get mad and send Maggie Seidel out to freak out on him again, painting him as an attacker for asking the Governor to clarify the statements that good, loyal citizens would accept as gospel.