WASHINGTON--Obama administration officials yesterday declared an end to the unemployment crisis, after a working group of economists, manufacturers, and anatomists released a report officially changing the meaning of the word "unemployed" from its previous definition--"without a job; out of work"--to the more politically useful, "state of having or possessing three or more legs."
"We felt something had to be done to solve the unemployment problem once and for all," Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said. "Finding jobs for 27 million people was just not a feasible solution. We think this represents a good compromise."
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner seconded Solis. "Have YOU ever tried to employ 43 million people? Can't be done."
When asked about the new definition, Dr. Michelle Sokolove, the lead anatomist on the panel, explained, "Originally we looked at fingers. We thought defining the unemployed as those lacking a full set of fingers--ten--might help us eliminate 96 million people from the ranks of the unemployed. You'd be surprised, though, how many people in America are missing fingers--even if we exclude pinkies." Sokolove went on to explain that this method of counting the "unemployed" actually produced an increase in the unemployment rate to 9.7%. "We had a similar problem with toes."
Eventually, the panel thought about using a surplus of fingers as the defining characteristic of an "unemployed person." While this did lower the official unemployment rate to 7.3%, the panel felt that more could be done.
"Actually," said Solis, "it was former Labor Secretary Robert [Too-Tall] Reich who came up with the ultimate solution. "We had him on a conference call, and he said, 'Well, if you're going to base the unemployment rate on ridiculous physical characteristics, why not only count people with three legs as unemployed?' The man's a genius!"
"Yeah, that was what we call sarcasm," Reich explained, when asked for comment.
The new measurement will go into official use immediately. With this announcement, the United States unemployment rate has now fallen to 0.0002%.
In a related story, unemployment benefits for Anthony "Sidecar" Montrose of Butters, NC, have been extended another 50 weeks.