Friday, October 30, 2009

More White House Idiocy On The "Jobs" Report, via ABC's Jake Tapper

ABC News's Jake Tapper is becoming one of my favorite White House reporters, and has been working on that status for months now. Much like the CBS News report on the same "stimulus" update, ABC is now calculating that if the White House numbers are correct, then it would have cost us about $160,000 per job! The White House says that's "calculator abuse," which is precisely the sort of answer you'd expect from a government run by a bunch of 5 year olds:
Posting its results late this afternoon at, the White House claimed 640,329 jobs have been created or saved because of the $159 billion in stimulus funds allocated as of Sept. 30.

Officials acknowledged the numbers were not exact, saying that states and localities that reported the numbers have made mistakes.

Ed DeSeve, senior advisor to the president for Recovery Act implementation, said he'd been "scrubbing" the job estimates so much since they came it at the beginning of the month that he now has "dishpan hands and my fingers are worn to the nub."

White House officials heralded the unparalleled transparency in reporting job numbers to the public, but acknowledged there is no consistent standard across states or localities, or among federal agencies giving out stimulus funds, in differentiating between a “saved” job and a “created” job.

The White House argues that the actual job number is actually larger than 640,000 -- closer to 1 million jobs when one factors in stimulus jobs added in October and, more importantly, jobs created indirectly, such as "the waitress who's still on the job," Vice President Biden said today.

So let's see. Assuming their number is right -- 160 billion divided by 1 million. Does that mean the stimulus costs taxpayers $160,000 per job?

Jared Bernstein, chief economist and senior economic advisor to the vice president, called that "calculator abuse."
That's just beautiful. There is "no consistent standard across states or localities, or among federal agencies" for deciding what actually constitutes a saved or created job? What kind of shim-sham operation is this? Is this the government at work, or is it a bad episode of Animaniacs? Perhaps that's a distinction without a difference.

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