The Stimulus Jobs Numbers – An Exercise in Word PlayPosted by Al @ 11:19 am
If you ever expected to get the truth about “jobs creation” from the federal government, forget it. The translucency of the Obama administration and their proficiency with fuzzy math will never reveal how many jobs the socialist-style stimulus packages produced. Since the daunting task of providing proof of actual job creation was so scarce, the administration resorted to the “jobs saved” mantra. Even if we were to accept that as a credible measure, why are most of the jobs saved actually government jobs.
All levels of government are bloated and inefficient. All government counting on perpetual growth that depends on tax revenue to function during a time of economic recession, creates a paradox for itself. It wants continual growth in the face of shrinking revenues. Only two viable choices will work:Shrink the size of all government bodies or subsidize the shortfalls in taxpayer revenue with taxpayer money. Considering Obama is citing taxpayer funded jobs being saved, he is actually taking credit for expanding government and not allowing them to shrink to the size dictated by their revenue. So, what most American do not realize is that their tax dollars are being used to subsidize tax supported jobs. Well, if you swallow that line, then look at the concerted effort the Obama administration will engage to prove they are not doing what government always does when it faces a crisis. They throw taxpayer dollars at it with reckless abandon.
So last week the latest tally of jobs created/retained was released , but not before some preliminary numbers released by the White House were refuted by one of the White House’s foes, the Associated Press. I applaud the AP for the story, even while doubting their supposed watchdog status. The White House immediately rebuked AP for their supposed callous claims. Now the jobs numbers released last Friday show some astronomical gains in employment, but it still looks like they are resorting to attacking critics of the numbers and justifying the stimulus programs with the un-quantifiable “jobs saved” propaganda.
Since March 2009, the accuracy of the jobs creation number have come under attack. Even the press has cast doubt on the jobs numbers. Who do you believe.
If space exploration were conducted like the job forecasts under the government’s new stimulus law, man surely would have missed the moon. But this isn’t rocket science.
Mr. Woodward provides some of the key terminology used by the White House when trying to justify their declared stimulus results:
“Very uncertain”, “Difficult to distinguish among alternative estimates”, “We confess to considerable uncertainty”, “Subject to substantial margins of error”, In other words, who really knows?
Among the assumptions used in White House and congressional forecasting:
- Every one-point gain in the gross domestic product will translate into 1 million jobs.
- For every two jobs directly created by the stimulus spending, a third job will be indirectly created. The 2-to-1 ratio is rough and varies considerably by sector.
- For each dollar states receive from Washington, they will decide to use 60 cents to avoid spending cuts, 30 cents to avoid tax increases and 10 cents to reduce drawdowns of their rainy day funds.
- A tax cut has only one-quarter of the value of a spending increase of the same size, in terms of expanding the economy.
- Every dollar spent on unemployment benefits is worth $1.63 of quick economic expansion. Food stamps boost the economy even more.
The overarching goal and promise of saving or creating 3.5 million jobs is built on vagaries such as these.
On the same day ABC ran the story, Bold Claims of Stimulus Jobs Can’t Be Measured
In April, MSNBC ran the story, The Fuzzy Math Used to Count Stimulus Jobs
University of Chicago economics professor Steven J. Davis, the author of a book and several studies on the subject. Meaningful data won’t be available for years…Compounding the problem, Davis said, is that Obama has invented a new standard to measure success: Jobs saved…Measuring job creation is complicated but possible. Counting jobs saved by the stimulus is, if not impossible, murky.
“How do you know what a saved job is? How do you know what jobs would have been lost without this?” Davis said. “That was a clever political gimmick to make it even harder to determine whether this policy has any effect.”
In September, the White House issued their 40 page results computation explanation. Good luck trying to understand the word game they are playing to make their claims.
- Evaluating the impact of countercyclical macroeconomic policy is inherently difficult because we do not observe what would have happened to the economy in the absence of policy. And the sooner the evaluation is done after passage, the less data one has about key economic indicators.
- Our multi-faceted analysis suggests that the ARRA has had a substantial positive impact on real GDP growth and on employment in the second and third quarters of 2009.
- CEA and others’ estimates of the effect of the Recovery Act imply that these declines in output and employment would have been significantly worse in the absence of fiscal stimulus.
- That recovery funds have gone out rapidly certainly increases the probability that the Act has been effective in its first six months.
- This analysis provides strong suggestive evidence that the range of policy actions taken early in the year, including the ARRA, has had a substantial impact on economic conditions.
- One can certainly make the case the obligations can generate economic activity because recipients may begin spending as soon as they are certain funds are available.
- The estimates suggest that the ARRA will likely add about 3 percentage points to real GDP growth in the third quarter and will have raised employment by roughly 1 million relative to what would have happened without stimulus.
and White House spokesman comically states:
It’s a great example of the unprecedented transparency, where the American taxpayer can point and click and see their taxes creating jobs.
At that point the left-leaning publication, Time, reports Stimulus Jobs Overstated by Thousands
In early progress report on President Barack Obama’s economic recovery plan overstates by thousands the number of jobs created or saved through the stimulus program…The AP review found some counts were more than 10 times as high as the actual number of jobs; some jobs credited to the stimulus program were counted two and sometimes more than four times; and other jobs were credited to stimulus spending when none was produced.
Well, what seems to happen to any organization/group refutes White House claims. They are attacked, as was Time the day following their article. As reported by Judicial Watch,
The White House is blasting a national print media outlet for reporting that the president’s fraud-infested economic recovery plan has inflated by thousands the number of jobs created or saved nationwide…
First Camp Obama admonished a conservative leaning television network (Fox) and now the notoriously liberal Associated Press. The most “transparent” administration in history responds to negative media coverage like a schoolyard bully. The latest offender reveals that the White House has skewed figures to positively reflect the number of jobs saved or produced by the highly touted $787 billion stimulus…
In the original story, the Obama advisor who oversees the stimulus program blamed the companies for the errors and claimed the mistakes would be corrected. The same official subsequently issued a statement after the piece was published, accusing the Associated Press of drawing “misleading conclusions” by using only a “small portion” of data…
So, who to believe. Well, I’ll leave it at this CBS report refuting the jobs claims and the unreliability of the methods used to collect this data.