Dick Morris can’t read

I generally prefer to pretend that Dick Morris doesn’t exist, but reader S.H. noticed an interesting claim in the sleazy conservative’s latest print column.

Morris, of course, was trying to make the argument that President Obama’s policies have been “disastrous,” and points to the latest job numbers to bolster his case.

Buried within the data [published last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics] is a micro-statistic symptomatic of what is happening in all sectors of the economy. In August, the economy lost 30,000 healthcare jobs, a drop from its recent monthly increments of 10,000 to 15,000 and well down from historical norms of 30,000 new healthcare jobs each month.

Why should healthcare jobs be down? … It is simply because the industry is traumatized and terrified by the impact of ObamaCare.

Now, even on face value, this argument is just foolish. Drawing sweeping conclusions about a law based on one month’s job numbers is lazy thinking, especially since full implementation of the law is still a few years away.

And if this were the only flaw in Morris’ argument, it would hardly be worth mentioning. But there’s an even more hilarious problem with Morris’ piece: he can’t read.

Here’s the latest jobs report from the Labor Department, which Morris used as the basis for his entire column.

Health care employment rose by 30,000 in August. Ambulatory health care services and hospitals added 18,000 and 8,000 jobs, respectively. Over the past 12 months, health care employment has grown by 306,000. [emphasis added]

That’s right, Dick Morris wrote an entire column based on the belief that the health care industry lost 30,000 jobs in August. The report he relied on actually said the health care industry gained 30,000 jobs in August. Morris’ case isn’t just lazy and unserious; it’s backwards.

Morris argues that the only logical conclusion to draw is that the Affordable Care Act is a disaster because the industry isn’t adding 30,000 jobs a month. But it is. It says right there in the black-and-white text: “Health care employment rose by 30,000 in August.” The very report Morris uses as evidence to prove his point is the same report that makes his own column look like a ridiculous lie.

Remember, Morris’ observation, which was the opposite of the truth, was the basis for his entire condemnation of the Obama administration. By his own reasoning, the Affordable Care Act would necessarily have to be deemed a great success, since the health care industry is one of the fastest growing industries for job creation in the nation.

Don’t go away mad, Dick. Just go away.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.