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Morning Jay: 'Known Unknowns' for 2012

6:00 AM, Mar 4, 2011 • By JAY COST
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This speaks to even greater political uncertainties surrounding the unemployment situation. To what extent is the country aware of the discrepancy between the peak in early 2001 and the current trough? Considering that both parties have governed during this long jobs' recession, can the Republicans make a credible case on jobs next year? If they can't, does Obama benefit by default? If he doesn't, who does?

So many questions. Too many to be talking about 8 percent rules of thumb! In the final analysis, I am reminded of the famous Rumsfeld phrase:

[T]here are known knowns; there are things we know we know.

We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know.

But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don't know we don't know.

The effect of the unemployment rate on 2012 is a "known unknown," at this point. We know (or at least we're reasonably confident) that there is going to be slack in the jobs' market. We don't know how much, and we don't know how much is too much for President Obama to win reelection. 

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