Are poll workers being used to inflate jobs totals?

Discussion in 'Economics' started by Tsing Tao, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. Tsing Tao

    Tsing Tao

    ny post interesting read showing how the administration is trying to pump up job numbers before the election...

    Workers at polling places for today's primary and November's general election are being required to file tax withholding forms for the first time ever in a move that could be aimed at inflating the nation's employment numbers.

    Is this really a little Election Eve trick? Here's what I learned, you decide.

    The New York City Board of Elections, which uses 30,000 to 36,000 temporary workers for both the primary and general election, said it is being ordered by the Internal Revenue Service to make "employees" out of the very temporary workers who tend the polling sites.

    But an IRS spokesperson couldn't find such an order.

    "The Internal Revenue Service has determined that all poll workers are considered employees of the Board of Elections for tax purposes," said a Board memo dated Aug. 2 and signed by Rosanna Kostamoulas Rahmouni, coordinator of Election Day Operations.

    "Therefore, the Board is required to have every poll worker complete the following before processing your application for work," her note added, listing tax forms W-4 and IT-2104 as necessary.

    "It is imperative that you promptly submit the forms or you will not be paid for your training class or processed to work on Election Day," she said.

    Although the note was dated Aug. 2 it apparently wasn't delivered to poll workers until very late in August. Workers get paid only $100 for training and $200 each day for working the primary and general election. So it's unlikely that the main purpose of this order is to collect the measly amount of taxes that would be owed -- mostly by the low-income retirees who man the polling centers -- on such a small amount of wages.

    But if the election boards in all 50 states suddenly report an influx of additional government workers, the effect on the monthly employment numbers could be very, very significant.

    As you know, the monthly employment report -- in which the number of jobs created or lost by the US economy is revealed -- is closely watched by the public and the financial community. And it's often cited publicly by President Obama.

    The next employment report before the election will come on Oct. 8.

    Because this report is more complex than others it is being released on the second Friday of October, not the first Friday. And because of this it will be one week closer to the election.

    There won't be another employment report until days after the Nov. 2 election.

    So any temporary poll workers included in the October count wouldn't be removed until voters have already decided on who will represent them.

    I couldn't find figures on how many poll workers there are throughout the country.

    But if New York alone hires 30,000 to 36,000 workers, the nationwide figures could easily rival the contribution that Census 2010 had on employment figures in earlier months this year.

    There are still about 80,000 Census workers who will be laid off, continuing the drag the end of that program has had on the monthly numbers and the Obama administration's desire to make the economy look better.

    "I have been a poll worker (for) many years," wrote one of my readers, who alerted me to this situation, "and after all these years, on Aug. 31, we received a letter in the mail from the Board of Elections stating the IRS has determined that if we work the polls we are now considered employees of the BofE."

    The IRS, however, couldn't produce any documentation about this ruling.

    "It's possible they may be referring to a Private Letter Ruling, in which case the information would be private and we would not be able to disclose the contents," said an IRS spokesperson. Secret! I bet.

    The US Labor Department conducts a survey of people working for companies and various federal, state and local governments during the week that includes the 12th day of the month.

    Today, as you know, is the 14th. So it's very possible that the Election Boards could report all these new "employees."

    So is this all a coincidence or something more?
  2. No shenanigan is "too scummy" for politicos... including lies and theft.
  3. zdreg


    this is normal behavior for 3rd world countries. the US is not a third world country but give it time it will become one unless there is a major shift to capitalist practices.
  4. unemployment rate somehow cannot go above the magical 10%, theres some fudging going on here
  5. "Some"... yeah!

    Similar to when the Fed chimed "Don't worry, be happy... the inflation rate is only 1-2%"... when it was actually more like 8%. LYING BASTARDS!
  6. MattF


    sure. Enough to tick the unemployment down .1% :D