Wednesday, January 13, 2010

To Create Or Save, Or Not To Create Or Save...Clearly, What We Call It Is Much More Important Than Whether Or Not We Actually Do It

Earlier this week, the Obama administration retired the phrase 'create or save' in terms of stimulus jobs:

Given all the heat they’ve gotten for pulling numbers out of their ass to inflate the amount of jobs “created or saved” by our $787 billion handout to Democratic special interests, the logical thing to do would be to clean up their act and be more conservative with their estimates.

But as partisans of both sides would agree, logic doesn’t always help win elections.

The memo, first noted by ProPublica, says that those receiving stimulus funds no longer have to say whether a job has been saved or created.

“Instead, recipients will more easily and objectively report on jobs funded with Recovery Act dollars,” Orszag wrote.

In other words, if the project is being funded with stimulus dollars – even if the person worked at that company or organization before and will work the same place afterwards – that’s a stimulus job…

Rep. Darrell Issa of California, the top Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wrote to the chair of the Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board Earl Devaney saying that “the new guidance counts every jobs that is funded using stimulus money – even if it existed before the Recovery Act, and was not in any danger of being eliminated – as ‘created or saved.’ This definition ignores the plain meanings of the words ‘created’ and ‘saved’ and makes’s ‘JOBS CREATED/SAVED’ label a falsehood, further eroding the confidence of the American people in their government.”

Wow. So, after taking an immense amount of ridicule, they finally admitted that the entire notion of 'saved or created' jobs was a deliberately vague scam to score political points, retiring the phrase and substituting the equally vague scam of 'jobs funded'.

Two days later, they reinstated 'saved or created':

Christina Romer, chair of the Obama administration’s Council of Economic Advisers, on Tuesday evening touted the office’s latest quarterly report to Congress finding that 1.5 million to 2 million jobs have been “created or saved” by the economic stimulus package.

“Close to two million jobs have been created or saved by the Recovery Act as of the end of 2009,” Romer said on a conference call with reporters. She called it “a truly stunning and important effect of the Act.”

Uh...really? Did she not get the memo, or are they really thinking it's a better idea to go back to the demonstrably false 'created or saved' nonsense? When pressed to explain how she calculated these numbers, Romer dodged giving a credible answer, suggesting instead that since a few other economists had guessed the same thing she had, that must mean she was correct.

Does this administration have a clue on how to do anything right?

There's my two cents.

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