It's one thing for a politician to twist facts and figures to support his own agenda. Unfortunately, it's just business as usual for the political class. It's quite another for a politician to have such little faith in the intelligence of his constituents that he straight-up lies about figures anyone can Google. Of course, Rick Scott is just, well, "quite another" type of politician.
"Since I took office in January, Florida's unemployment rate has declined each month while the national unemployment continues to rise as a result of failed leadership on the federal level," Governor Scott said today as the believer in small government signed a law that create a new government agency called the Department of Economic Opportunity. "Here in Florida, we are seeing signs of improvement because we are moving in the right direction to make Florida the No. 1 place to do business."
That first part is totally true, mostly. Florida's unemployment level was 11.7 percent in December 2010, then rose a 0.1 percent in January, Scott's first month in office. Though it's since declined. It was 10.4 percent in April, the last month for which statistics are available. Scott might not have had much to do with that, but, yes, technically it's correct.
The part about "the national unemployment continues to rise as a result of failed leadership on the federal level" total lie.
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The unemployment rate across America was 9.8 percent (that, mind you, is smaller than Florida's currently is). The federal rate, too, has not increased during any month in 2011, and it was 8.7 percent in April and May.
So, no, the national unemployment rate has not continued to rise. Between January and April it fell by 1.1 percent. Florida's fell 1.4 percent in the same time. You can make the strong case that Scott's policy, as a new governor who hadn't even signed his first budget, had little to do with that drop. You could make the strong case that policies enacted on the federal level had done more. Sure, Scott wouldn't be a lying if he merely stated the facts that Florida's unemployment level had fallen at a faster rate than the national level since he took office. It would just be slightly misleading, which is politics as usual. Instead, Scott went out of his way to misrepresent facts.