Thursday, November 5, 2009

Created or saved...

I love this report from the AP:

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama's economic recovery program saved 935 jobs at the Southwest Georgia Community Action Council, an impressive success story for the stimulus plan. Trouble is, only 508 people work there.

The Georgia nonprofit's inflated job count is among persisting errors in the government's latest effort to measure the effect of the $787 billion stimulus plan despite White House promises last week that the new data would undergo an "extensive review" to root out errors discovered in an earlier report.

About two-thirds of the 14,506 jobs claimed to be saved under one federal office, the Administration for Children and Families at Health and Human Services, actually weren't saved at all, according to a review of the latest data by The Associated Press. Instead, that figure includes more than 9,300 existing employees in hundreds of local agencies who received pay raises and benefits and whose jobs weren't saved. [...]

But officials defended the practice of counting raises as saved jobs.

"If I give you a raise, it is going to save a portion of your job," HHS spokesman Luis Rosero said.

Do go read the whole thing; it's screamingly funny, especially the part where the administration also defends counting each employee as a fraction of a "saved" job.

This is one area where the MSM does deserve a little credit. The transparent idiocy of the whole "saved job" notion, as if it's even remotely possible to quantify which jobs were "saved" by government intervention, and which ones were just going along, not really in any danger at all, completely unaffected positively or negatively by the various stimulus cash floating around in banker's pockets or the odd auto company here and there, is something they have not really failed to point out. Of course, were a Republican to try this "created or saved" nonsense, it would generate large sarcastic headlines in the New York Times, a prickly Maureen Dowd column or ten, and weeks of Sunday news program focus; but we'll take what we can get.

In a way, the logic of "created or saved" seems awfully familiar. It is reminiscent of the woman who returns home after a shopping spree, loaded with bags and boxes, and insists to her critical husband that she has just saved a ton of money, because everything she bought was on sale. It's also reminiscent of the way that politicians can increase taxes, spend themselves into an even bigger deficit than they've already created (or saved), and then claim that they've reduced spending by creating future savings, which they demonstrate via a dizzying display of questionable math.

Still, the rather easily dismantled claim that the stimulus spending has "saved" any jobs, and the revelation of just how silly the thought processes behind the notion that any of these jobs were actually saved at all really are, has got to be making some Democrats wish that this particular catchphrase had never been created. Or saved.

1 comment:

LarryD said...

It's sort of akin to spending $1000 at Macy's, but feeling great that you had a 10% off coupon. "I saved $100!!" Big whoop - you would have saved $900 if you hadn't gone to Macy's in the first place.