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Jewish World Review Dec. 8, 2003 / 13 Kislev 5764

Steve Young

Steve Young
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FOR CONSERVATIVES ONLY: Settle My Bet With An Absolutely Anonymous Talk Show Host | First let me explain the rules: This column is only open to Conservatives; Conservatives who deal with the facts and are open to the truth; not what you want the facts to say, but what they actually mean to each and every American.

Secondly: For those Conservatives who have had the courage, nay heroism, to actually plod through any of my previous columns without losing lunch, you are well aware that I could be considered a....ugh, Liberal. So I understand it will be tough to believe that I am earnestly looking for your viewpoint without some devious motive.

Thirdly, while this topic refers to a public debate I had with a popular host, who many (all?) of you revere, a lot of Liberals might choose to take this tact to bait this most attractive (I'm a firm heterosexual, but darn it, the man is adorable) host so he might mention my name and even more so, book me as a guest on his show. To back this up, if He (not that he is a G-d. That's one broadcasts in the morning) calls to invite me on, I will refuse his invitation

Fourthly (I'm not sure if "fourthly" is an actual word, but for purpose of this column, let's say it is), I don't have a radio show so I have to write a column to be heard, or read, or whatever you call it.

Okay, here's the deal. Last week I appeared on (for the purpose of this column, let's call him:) "Hawn Shanatee"'s radio show. Amongst other pleasantries we discussed the economic situation in this country. We agreed that things are looking up, but when it came to jobs, Hawn said that from January 2001, to the present date, there had been a job increase. I argued that based on the amount of Americans in the workplace, there was a job decrease under President Bush's administration; the only president to preside over a job decrease since our own Herbert Hoover.

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Being that both Hawn and I would never relay information to the public without first checking the facts, we both went to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for our information. The information I received, from a press officer at the BLS who referred to the chart they use to gauge "real" job growth since January, 2001, said that there had been an approximate 2.3 million job loss to date. Sean's information was taken from a chart that did not take the jobs available to each person in the work force.

I (for the purpose of this column, let's call me "Yeeve Stung") said that we have to use the figures that incorporate all those in the workplace. It's been the basis to the real job gain statistics for years. For example, this past month the BLS reported that there were 57,000 new jobs. Good news and a seeming job gain...if you're Hawn Shanatee. But if you're in the job pool which added 150,000 workers to the workforce last month, which is how the BLS bases it's true gain or loss, we would have needed at least 150,000 new jobs just to break even. So, in fact, we lost 100,000 real jobs.

To his credit, the next day Hawn said that we were both right and that, ladies and gentlemen, is in itself, huge. Remember, I'm kind of a liberal. Kind of in the "I am one" way. That Hawn would give credit to a Liberal is a credit to him. That's almost like Mark Levin admitting he's wrong, which of, course, being that Hell has not dipped under 32 degrees, probably never happened.

On the other hand, as far as how the figure affects the working man, Hawn is wrong. Since President Bush had taken over, the job situation has worsened. The job growth has not kept up with the work force growth and that is the true measurement of our labor condition. To use numbers to say that fact is untrue is to deceive, and that's just not the Hawn I know.

Now, let's get to the heart of the matter: THE BET.

Hawn and I made a gentleman's bet of a Ruth Chris dinner (I'm sure he meant one that includes dinner for my wife as I am straight and allowed to get married, and I wouldn't dare go to a place like RC without my gorgeous wife, who lucky for me, is also straight)

So I am asking all you Conservatives who are reading this column (as well as those who are not), to place an "X" next to the appropriate statement which will designate who you feel really won the bet and send to: me at the e-ddress below in the bio.

Vote for one (unless you are from Dade County in which you will probably vote for Pat Buchanan). I certainly don't want to influence your decision, but just so you can see an example of how to mark your ballot, I have placed an "X" next to the sentence that might come closest to the most honest answer. Remember that I love steak but could nary afford what Hawn can and anyway he probably has plenty of Ruth Chris gift certificates so it's not like it'll cost him.

X There are less jobs per person in the workforce since President Bush took over.

X There are more jobs per person in the workforce since President Bush took over.

I thank you for your help. Please do not tell any Liberal readers you read this. They get a little touchy when they're not included.

JWR contributor Steve Young, Prism Award winner and Humanitas Prize nominee for his television writing, is film correspondent for BBC radio. He is the author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful: Mistakes, Adversity, Failure and Other Stepping Stones to Success," "The 130 Tales of Winchell Mink," Harper Collins (Winter, 2003) and the director/writer of "My Dinner With Ovitz." His website is Comment by clicking here.

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© 2002, Steve Young