Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Bill Clinton, responded Saturday to baseless allegations that the Obama administration may have manipulated the Bureau of Labor Statistics' monthly jobs report to make it look better than it actually was, calling those allegations "literally absurd."
In an interview on Up w/ Chris Hayes Saturday, Stiglitz said the accusations leveled by Republicans and their supporters on Wall Street -- including Rep. Allen West of Florida, former General Electric CEO Jack Welch and former Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes -- were outlandish and contradicted a broad consensus among economists of all party affiliations that the jobs numbers are not influenced by political calculations.
"No president, maybe except Nixon, would actually try to change what the Bureau of Labor Statistics does," Stiglitz said. "These are really independent statistical agencies, and the idea that they would do that is, I say, literally absurd."
"There’s this old debate about, 'we can’t choose our facts, we can choose our interpretation of the facts,'" Stiglitz said. "And what they’re trying to move to is the direction where we get to choose our facts."