Anyone who remembers his campaign pronouncement that a Kansas tornado had left “ten thousand dead” and “an entire town destroyed” (the 2007 storm actually killed twelve people) knows that President Obama hasn’t been one to worry about playing fast and loose with a few facts or numbers.
However, Mr. Obama’s dogged refusal to deviate from his “150,000 jobs created or saved” by the $787,000,000,000.00 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is beginning to lend itself to more than a little head-scratching.
Mr. Obama and his administration have been making the claim for several weeks now. On May 27, “White House economic advisers” announced the “stimulus” had “created or saved 150,000 jobs” since its inception 100 days before — an average increase (or savings) of about 1,500 jobs a day.
Twelve days later, on June 8, Vice President Joe Biden made the same proclamation on a conference call with reporters: the stimulus had “saved or created 150,000 [jobs]” to date.
Theoretically, there should have been about 18,000 more jobs than that, given the twelve day interval between the May 27 announcement and the June 8 call. But never mind that.
Just for good measure — and despite the fact that economists and simple observers who had the virtue of being awake were throwing up their hands in disbelief that an administration would actually make such a claim about something as obviously incalculable as a “saved” job — Biden added that there had been “no reasonable challenges to the estimates.”
Last Wednesday, July 8 — a full 30 days after the Biden conference call and 42 days after the initial 100 day claim of “150,000 jobs created or saved” — Obama’s deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget announced the stimulus had (you guessed it!) “created or saved 150,000 jobs since its inception in February.”
Judging by the administration’s own claims alone, that’s one package that seems to have lost its, well, stimulation.
Interestingly, Obama himself said in early June — just after he first made the 150,000 job claim — that he was “not satisfied” with the package’s progress. Then this past Saturday, July 11 — after a full month of no job creation or savings, according to his administration’s claims — he suddenly declared that the stimulus had been a success and that it has “worked as intended.”
So the intent of this $787,000,000,000.00 legislation, which the president claimed would “create or save 3.5 to 4 million jobs,” was actually to “create or save” 150,000 jobs in the first 100 days, then hold fast at that number?
That seems like a wise investment — only $5.25 million of taxpayers’ dollars per job!
Ironically enough, the one official deviation from this line is on Obama’s website.
There, an interactive map which purports to track the number of “jobs created or saved by the Recovery Act” in every state in the country claims 1,086,000 jobs “created or saved” in the states of California, Texas, Florida, and New York alone.
How these amazingly inflated numbers were arrived at is likely as much above Joe Biden’s “pay grade” to determine or explain as is the Obama administration’s method of coming up with the 150,000 number.
All of this comes, of course, alongside one ironclad fact: The American economy has shed nearly 2.3 million jobs since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by Obama, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. During that period, the unemployment rate has climbed from 8.1 percent to 9.5 percent.
Add to that the admission on CNBC this week from Dr. Cristina Romer, chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisors, that the administration has no way of telling how many jobs were “created or saved” because they simply don’t have a baseline to work from:
Maria Bartiromo: When the stimulus was first announced, the president said that he expected that in the coming years the administration, based on the policies on economic revival, could save or create 3.5 million jobs. At this point does the administration know how many jobs have been created or saved?
Romer: You know, it’s very hard to say exactly because you don’t know what the baseline is. Because you don’t know what the economy would have done without it.
This is noteworthy for two major reasons.
First, this appears to be the first time an Obama official has stepped in front of the renowned (and feared) Obamabus and admitted there is simply no way to prove the employment numbers aren’t fabricated.
Second — and this may be the most important — Romer is coauthor of the report that established the baseline numbers and formula for calculating jobs supposedly “created or saved” by the stimulus. It was her report that initially made the claim that the “stimulus” would “create or save” 3.5 to 4 million jobs.
Further, she and her council released a report just this week — “Preparing the Workers of Today for the Jobs of Tomorrow” — that Obama claimed in his radio address last weekend “confirms that our plan will likely save or create three to four million jobs.”
Which is it, Mr. President? Dr. Romer, who wrote this report, says there’s simply no way to tell how many jobs have been “saved or created” — yet you claim the same person’s report proves you right and gives hard numbers.
All the while, hundreds of thousands of real, calculable, and documentable jobs are being lost by real Americans every month. These people live in real cities and towns across the country.
How’s that for stimulus success?