Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Priceless commentary

Stimulus saves nine out of every five jobs
By: David Freddoso, Commentary Staff Writer
Beltway Confidential 11/04/09 11:34 AM EST

I've always believed that President Obama will take credit for saving 2 million jobs as long as there are 2 million jobs left in the United States. But his jobs report apparently goes beyong this, the Associated Press reports, taking credit for saving jobs that really don't exist.

"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."

The over-estimates of jobs "created and saved" are actually far more extensive than that -- in one small segment of the Department of Health and Human Services, AP found that the count of "jobs saved" was inflated by more than 50 percent, or about 9,000.

But the biggest problem with Obama's numbers is conceptual. Let's say that government spends $100 million on orange traffic cones, causing their manufacturers to hire 500 new people. If that $100 million hadn't been borrowed from investors and banks that buy up treasuries, could it not have gone toward a new start-up business that develops drugs or the next i-Phone? Could it not have put several credit-worthy borrowers into new homes?

Obama's job numbers, even if they are scrubbed of their many obvious inaccuracies, can never account for these hidden costs of government deficit spending.

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