Thursday, November 5, 2009

Where Fudge Comes From

Well, here's the source of Obama's fuzzy math about jobs created or saved.
You sell the Army Corps of Engineers nine pairs of boots for $900 and it turns in to NINE JOBS CREATED OR SAVED.

Imagine what it would have been if Buddy's daughter hadn't called the government help line.
In the Battle for Stimulus Jobs, Shoe Store Owner Tells War Story
November 2, 2009, Wall Street Journal
Louise Radnofsky reports on how the stimulus money is being spent.

How did Kentucky shoe store owner Buddy Moore save nine jobs with just $889.60 in federal stimulus money? He didn’t, and that’s turning into a big headache for him.

Moore’s store in Campbellsville, Ky., filed one of 156,614 reports from recipients of stimulus dollars designed to show how money from the $787 billion program is being spent, and how many jobs the funds have created or saved.

Moore’s slice of the stimulus came in an $889.60 order from the Army Corps of Engineers for nine pairs of work boots for a stimulus project.

Moore says he’s been supplying the Corps with boots for at least two decades. This year, because he provided safety shoes for work funded by the stimulus package, he said he got a call from the Corps telling him he had to fill out a report for detailing how he’d used the $889.60, and how many jobs it had helped him to create or save. He later got another call, asking him if he’d finished the report.

“The paperwork was unreal,” said Moore, who added that he tried to figure out how to file the forms online, then gave up and asked his daughter to help.

Paula Moore-Kirby, 42 years old, had less trouble with the Web site, but couldn’t work out how to answer the question about how many jobs her father had created or saved. She couldn’t leave it blank, either, she said. After several calls to a helpline for recipients she came away with the impression that she would hear back if there was a problem with her response, and have a chance to correct it. So with 15 minutes to go before the reporting deadline, she sent in her answer: nine jobs, because her father helped nine members of the Corps to work.

“You could fill out the form in 10 minutes, but we were trying to fill out the form correctly,” she said, guessing that she spent up to eight hours on it in total.

That was a few weeks ago. The only thing the Moores heard after that was that because they’d received less than $25,000 in stimulus money, they shouldn’t have reported in the first place.

Today, three days after the reports were made public, local television stations and national newspapers including The Wall Street Journal started telephoning Moore, because his nine jobs for $889.60 in stimulus money makes him look like one of the most effective spenders in the country.

Kirby-Moore says she then got a call from her dad, asking her, ‘Paula, I thought you knew what you were doing… What did you put in that form?”

“I thought it was the right answer,” she said. “It is sad that creating nine jobs should get so much attention… If anybody’s looking for instant fame, I guess we’ve found the way.”

“The question, I would like to know is: How do you answer that? Did we create zero? Is it creating a job because they have boots and go out and work for the Corps? I would be really curious to hear how somebody does create a job. The formula is out there for anyone to create, and it’s just so difficult,” she said.

Republicans have criticized the Obama administration’s claims – based on forms like the one filed by Kirby-Moore — that the stimulus has created or saved 640,000 jobs. What counts, they say, are the number of Americans without jobs and the rising unemployment rate.

Nobody answered the phone at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Louisville, Ky., this evening.
UPDATE: A spokeswoman for the Army Corps of Engineers in Louisville said that the stimulus reporting requirements were cumbersome, but important, and that the Corps had contracts ranging up to millions of dollars in the region. “It’s painstaking; it’s very, very detailed record keeping,” said Carol Labashosky. “We’re certainly up to the task, but if we inadvertently caused him some consternation, we apologize."

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