Americans could have taken little comfort when the man a heartbeat away from the nation's nuclear launch codes predicted, in another context, "If we do everything right, if we do it with absolute certainty, there's still a 30 percent chance we're going to get it wrong." This week, however, Vice-President Joe Biden increased his probability of error to 100 percent, making and repeating statements indicating that he's just about the only elected official in America that doesn't know that violent crime has been declining for the last 20 years.
Perennially casting himself as the nation's leading empathizer with the working class, the gaffe-prone Veep often talks about the importance of jobs, which he once described as a three-letter word. So, it was no surprise when he returned to the subject of jobs again this week. But even the leftist Huffington Post didn't give a friend a pass when Biden warned on Tuesday that if Congress doesn't pass the new "jobs bill" favored by President Barack Obama, violent crime would "continue to rise."
The next day, questioned about the claim by a reporter, Biden indignantly defended his position, saying, "Don't screw around with me. Let's get it straight. . . . Go look at the numbers. Murder's up, rape is up, and burglary's up. [And if the Republicans don't pass the Obama "jobs bill,"] murder will continue to rise. Rape will continue to rise. All crimes will continue to rise."
Instead of making stuff up, Biden should have resorted to plagiarism, as he's been accused of before. If he had done so, he could have gotten his crime numbers straight by copying them from the FBI's Crime in the United States, 2010 report and its online database of crime statistics from the last half-century. As the great New York Yankee Yogi Berra once said, "You can observe a lot just by watching."
According to the FBI, the nation's murder, rape and burglary rates decreased five, six and two percent, respectively, between 2009 and 2010; have decreased 14, 14 and four percent, respectively, over the last decade; and have decreased 51, 35 and 44 percent, respectively, over the last 20 years. Today, murder, rape and burglary are at 46-year, 33-year and 44-year lows, respectively. Total violent crime, which includes murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, is at a 37-year low. Total property crime, which includes, burglary, larceny theft and motor vehicle theft, is at a 42-year low.
Meanwhile, from another source of information more reliable than Biden, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the nation's unemployment rate is still 9.1 percent. If the nation's jobless numbers were declining like crime has been, it would be cause for a celebration like none other in many years.