Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Flawed stimulus numbers -- or a flawed promise to provide them?

Updated 8:20 p.m.
By Alec MacGillis
Another day, another flurry of outrage over the jobs numbers claimed by the government for the administration's $787 billion economic stimulus program.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) released a blistering statement Tuesday morning taking to task flawed data in the federal figures released on the stimulus tracking site recovery.gov Oct. 30 showing that $160 billion in spending had so far created or saved 640,000 jobs.

His shot came in response to two ABC News stories. The first reported that the administration deleted 60,000 jobs from a recovery.gov list after it became clear that the jobs figures were overstated. Then, on Monday, another news report revealed recovery.gov reports had claimed $761,420 in spending and 30 jobs created in Arizona's 15th congressional district -- a district that doesn't exist.

"The inaccuracies on recovery.gov that have come to light are outrageous and the Administration owes itself, the Congress, and every American a commitment to work night and day to correct the ludicrous mistakes," Obey said. "We designed the Recovery Act to be open and transparent and I expect the the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, who oversees the recovery act web site and data to have information that is accurate, reliable and understandable to the American public. Whether the numbers are good news or bad news, I want the honest numbers and I want them now."

But with every grenade from the media blowing a hole in the credibility of the jobs numbers, it may be worth asking whether the administration's problem comes less from the quality of the numbers being provided than from its decision to provide the numbers in the first place.

From the start, the administration framed the stimulus as a job-creating initiative, saying that it would create or save 3.5 million jobs over the next two years. Skeptics noted that this would be a very hard number to verify -- after all, how can one know for sure whether a job has been "saved"? But the administration and congressional Democrats not only stuck with that number, they also promised an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability in the stimulus, saying they would require recipients of the money to report how it had been spent and how many jobs they created or saved with it.

More and more, it is looking like this approach may have been a strategic mistake. It is exceedingly difficult for even the most conscientious government agency or contractor to calculate the jobs impact of a stimulus grant or contract. How can one know for sure whether a job would have been lost in the absence of stimulus money? If money helped cover someone's paycheck for only a few weeks or months, how should that be counted? If the money is passed on to a subcontractor or other recipient who will be able to hire or retain workers with it, should that be counted by the original recipient? If money has been allocated but will not be spent for several months, should its jobs impact be tallied now or later? A close examination of the recipient reports suggests that there are plenty instances where the jobs created are being undercounted, rather than exaggerated, as some recipients of multiple millions of dollars report that they have yet to save or create a single job.

Even advocates for government transparency wonder whether the administration would have been better off not trying to provide actual job tallies, and instead simply concentrating on requiring clear reports on how the money was spent -- information that is more useful and reliable. The administration could have framed the stimulus not as a pure jobs program but as what it in fact is: a massive infusion of money into the economy that, by the very laws of economics, was sure to create or save thousands of jobs, even if one could not know exactly how many.

"I would not have framed it as a jobs bill or a jobs law, as they have done," said Gary Bass, the director of the government watchdog group OMB Watch, in a recent interview.

As it is, the administration has left itself open to near-daily assaults on the credibility of the jobs numbers. Finding flaws in the data is as easy as shooting fish in a barrel, and reporters have been all too happy to fire away -- first reporting the numbers with fanfare when they are announced, despite all their obvious shortcomings, and then, days or weeks later, reporting in a state of high dudgeon that this or that jobs estimate from a stimulus recipient is not entirely sound.

The constant barrage of stories questioning the data may be taking a toll. In the new Post-ABC poll, barely more than a third of respondents say they think the stimulus has helped the economy, while 23 percent say it has hurt and 39 percent say it has made no difference. The 37 percent saying it has helped is up from 32 percent two months ago, but still not nearly the public perception for which the administration was hoping.

Following Obey's statement, the White House pushed back today with a lengthy retort from Ed DeSeve, the adviser to Vice President Biden who is in charge of implementing the stimulus. DeSeve argued that it was unfair to slight the administration for culling 60,000 questionable jobs from the October total at the same time as the administration is also being slighted for letting other questionable jobs slip through. The mistakes in the data have represented a sliver of the whole, and often are clerical flubs that don't really touch on the heart of the reporting, he argued. "Transparency is going to be messy -- but it is better than the alternative," he wrote.

"It would be great if every report filed was correct the first time, on time, and contained no errors.  But that's not realistic when 130,000 reports are being filed in a 10 day period," he said. "But think about it this way," he continued, "What government program has ever even attempted to provide this sort of information, on this scale, this quickly? In my over thirty years of government service, I can tell you without hesitation: something like this has never happened before."

In an interview, Ed Pound, the spokesman for the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, said the nonexistent congressional district appears to be the result of a stimulus recipient misstating the number of the district in which a project was located. The board, which operates the recovery.gov site, emphasizes that recipients of stimulus data are responsible for the accuracy of the spending reports they submit to the Web site.

"We post what we receive from the recipients on our Web site," Pound said. "It looks here like the recipients put in the wrong information."

Recipients cannot correct their errors until they submit their next spending report in January, according to current guidance from the Office of Management and Budget, but the Recovery Board is reviewing ways to make changes before then, Pound said.

Chances are, there will be plenty more outraged reports of faulty figures to correct before then. On Thursday, Republicans are asking the head of the RAT board, Ed Earl Devaney, to come before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform -- to answer for the validity of jobs numbers that Congress demanded, only to now be surprised to find that they are less than perfect.

Staff writer Ed O'Keefe contributed to this report.

By Web Politics Editor  |  November 17, 2009; 12:27 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Economy  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Administration to announce financial fraud task force
Next: Midday Quiz: Terror Trials

Comments

TJG1 Wrote:
"Financial infusions allowed me to reduce my mortgage rates which in turn helped me get comfortable with a remodeling project that employed new fewer than 7 people for 6 weeks"

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

You need to go tell your lies somewhere else.
7 people for 6 weeks is 42 man weeks. At minimum wage that totals about $14,000. To get a $14K break on you mortgage payment you would have to have re-financed about $1.75 million from 7% to 3.5%.

If you couldn't make your payments on your $1.75M home, (required to be able to refinance) you still couldn't make your payments at the lesser payment rate PLUS the salaries you paid, plus your portion of FICA, Medicare, unemployment etc. on those salaries.

I sit here and accuse you a liar. You might be able to run this BS past idiots, but not a PE.


Posted by: Hawaiian_Gecko | November 17, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

You know, part of transparency is that over time, the quality of reporting improves. Would the rancorous here rather there were no reporting, as is usually the case, so that the government could make up any old thing they wanted.

AS far as where the money has gone, I do not know about everyone else, but cash for clunkers helped me buy my sister a car so that she could take a road warrior job. Financial infusions allowed me to reduce my mortgage rates which in turn helped me get comfortable with a remodeling project that employed new fewer than 7 people for 6 weeks. I know of an entire business that is starting up to provide wireless internet service to rural areas.

I am confident that if any one of you screamers gave even a cursory look at your family or close circle of friends, you would find clear evidence of stimulus measures at work. However, continue to spew vitriol because it sure is easier than solving any problems that your conservative friends left for us.

Posted by: TJG1 | November 17, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Thank God for Fox News....maybe we can get a little truth there..We certainly aren't going to get it from the likes of the washington Post..

Posted by: lucygirl1 | November 17, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

It's worse that what's being reported, try looking at this: http://watchdog.org/2009/11/17/6-4-billion-stimulus-goes-to-phantom-districts/

FOUR HUNDRED AND FORTY mythical Congressional districts to the tune of 6.4 billion dollars.

We only have 435 members of the House, not double that, people.

This isn't a boo boo, this is bull.

Posted by: Geepers1 | November 17, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

so far this adminstration has done nothing right.....they can't even lie right.

Posted by: lucygirl1 | November 17, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

If Obama's gross overstatement of jobs in this report are merely errors, then surely there are many errors that underreported the jobs created.

Nope, not a single one. It's obvious that we've got some serious Enron accounting going on here.

Chicago politics at it's best. What do you want to bet that many of those new workers live in Chicago graveyards? If the dead can vote Democratic, they're eligible for stimulus jobs, right?

Posted by: diesel_skins_ | November 17, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

So Obama spent $160 billion (so far) and "created or saved" 640,000 jobs. That's $250,000 per job! And all the evidence indicates that many of these 640,000 jobs are total fantasy, meaning the real government cost per job is much higher.

This all the proof you need that the goal of the stimulus is NOT to create jobs. If it was, you'd just offer $50,000 to any business that creates a job. That's an instant creation of 3.2 million jobs -- five times as many as Obama's fake stimulus claims. And those jobs have a chance of still existing next year.

Remember this when the government takes over healthcare.

Posted by: diesel_skins_ | November 17, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

The following is quoted from the article:

"'I would not have framed it as a jobs bill or a jobs law, as they have done,' said Gary Bass, the director of the government watchdog group OMB Watch, in a recent interview.'"

If they had not framed it as a jobs bill, the stimulus package probably would not have passed Congress

Posted by: GPFR | November 17, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

"But that's not realistic when 130,000 reports are being filed in a 10 day period," he said."

Yes it is realistic.

There is something called a "computer", and computer software has something called "edit checks".

Just put the f******* data in a spreadsheet (Excel in Vista handles it easily), sort on congressional district, and look for the outliers.

Better yet, just blame the whole thing on "computer error".

What happens when another 47 MILLION are added to healthcare rolls?

Posted by: oracle2world | November 17, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

One lie requires another to validate the first.

A stack of lies. A giant heaping pile of lies is all that this admin offers.

Posted by: docwhocuts | November 17, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

If the late night comedians and SNL don't pick up on the hilarity of this story, they aren't worth watching.

Posted by: Hawaiian_Gecko | November 17, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

CRITICS TAKING AIM???? For Pete's sake -- if you are an honest steward of taxpayer's money, the YOU SHOULD BE A CRITIC!

This gang from Chicago either are totally incompetent, or they are nothing more that South Side Chicago CROOKS!!

Hillary should resign now, and start planning to challenge Obama in 2012!

Posted by: wheeljc | November 17, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Every single error found to date in this report, errors on the side of falsely inflating the jobs number. Not one single error that these incompetents claim was a typo or whatever, has moved the needle in the opposite direction.

Not one instance has been found where the government announced only five jobs were created, but the AP discovered that the number was actually twenty.

Ask any mathematician, statistician or actuary what the odds of that are.
+++
++++++++

Posted by: Hawaiian_Gecko | November 17, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

This administration is already getting the reputation of the "do nothing" administration. However, with this stimulus report it appears that his administration can't even "do nothing" competently.

Posted by: Hawaiian_Gecko | November 17, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Obama won by a landslide? When is 7% margin a landslide? Unless one is using Biden math...

Posted by: RobParker | November 17, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

So a few numbers are off and there are a few mistakes. What is the percentage of mistakes compared to correct information? Probably pretty small.
People on the right will not give Obama credit for anything, they haven't since the day he won (in a landslide).

Posted by: gce1356 | November 17, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

___________________________________________

Winning with a 7% margin on popular vote is a landslide? Or are you using the same math as Biden is on "jobs saved or created"?

Posted by: RobParker | November 17, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Too many bogus claims. We are being ACORNED.

Posted by: Tupac_Goldstein | November 17, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

In addition to telling us fictional numbers about "Jobs saved or created"
Why doesn't the Obama Administration start putting out numbers of "Jobs Promised" so the Media can start trumpeting those as real figures too?

Posted by: HawkSprings | November 17, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

What is also telling is how the Media has swallowed the fictional phrase "Jobs saved" by this administration.

If a Republican president had tried it, the Media would STILL be mocking it daily and hourly.

"Jobs Saved..." What a crock of doo doo.

Posted by: HawkSprings | November 17, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Playing catch up after all of the propaganda about the success of the stimulus must be sticking in the guts of President Obama and the Democrats. The stimulus is working. Jobs were saved and jobs were created. What a bunch of bull. Nothing was created, the jobs bill is proof of this. President Obama lied, Biden lied and every Democrat who came on TV to boast about the stimulus and the jobs it created sold their souls to President Obama and came away looking like a bunch of fools. Nothing has worked the way President Obama said it would. Everyone who looked the other way, everyone who criticized the Republicans and Conservatives for saying no jobs had been created have cake on their face the minute the Democrats started writing the jobs bill. Everyone was so worried about the rhetoric and civility of the Republican and Conservatives, because President Obama didn't want anyone to mention what he failure he was and the fact that he was doing so much and accomplishing nothing at all. It's time to stop with the whitewashing and excuse making on the behalf of President Obama. For those who wanted to be above it all and didn't want to be seen as disagreeing with everything President Obama is doing has to open their eyes sooner or later. Being objective doesn't mean denying the reality of things just to be fair to a destructive President. Being objective doesn't mean letting President Obama rip apart this country just so the Democrats can say nice things about you. Being objective doesn't mean letting our troops go with less because we have a President who sided with the enemy before Bush left office and now has to face the enemy he sided with because of politics. Being objective doesn't mean the American people has to give up all their rights and choices just to prove to President Obama their not racist. Being objective doesn't mean we have to find some good in what President Obama is doing and the destructive things he's doing is getting ignored. Being objective just so the Democrats can have a sanctuary to run to tell their lies about the successes of President Obama is not being objective at all. It's aiding and abetting a misleading and deceitful administration because being objective was more important then challenging a lie.

Posted by: houstonian | November 17, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Transparency is a pain when the truth is revealed. Maybe that is why they are rethinking the whole thing when it comes to healthcare.

Posted by: fgshul | November 17, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Who knew? Conservatives knew ALL the figures would fudged. They were NOT wrong because of mistakes, they were intentional. Why don't people see that or care? This is not transparency... it is slight of hand LYING!

Posted by: joaquinrose | November 17, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

$160,000,000,000 / 640,000 jobs == $250,000/job.

Heck, just pay me $250,000 a year and I won't NEED a job.

Posted by: thardman | November 17, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Democrat = No Confidence

From bailouts, to stimulous, to health care numbers, to numbers getting vaccines, to breast health speculation, to numbers in polls by mickey mouse...the flim flam man and Democrats have lied to us and destroyed American lives creating homelessness, unemployment, and broke apart GM based on lies lies lies.

Posted by: dottydo | November 17, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

This whole thing has been a farce from the get-go. No administration has ever tried to measure jobs "saved". It's ridiculous! How do you measure such a thing? I mean, I still have my job. Does that mean Obama "saved it"? I'm surprised that the mainstream media is just now ctatching on to what a fraud it is. And to think, VP Bidne is supposed to be the one responsible for the webiste. The same Biden who has been guilty of plagerizing others speechs...

Posted by: denves | November 17, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

This whole thing has been a farce from the get-go. No administration has ever tried to measure jobs "saved". It's ridiculous! How do you measure such a thing? I mean, I still have my job. Does that mean Obama "saved it"? I'm surprised that the mainstream media is just now ctatching on to what a fraud it is. And to think, VP Bidne is supposed to be the one responsible for the webiste. The same Biden who has been guilty of plagerizing others speechs...

Posted by: denves | November 17, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

IMPEACH
OBAMA
NOW
He's a freaking TERRORIST and every time he opens his
pie hole he confirms it again

Posted by: noHUCKABEEnoVOTE | November 17, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

The truth is, under Obama and the Democrats, we have LOST 2 million jobs in 10 months. During that same period, we outsourced 3 million jobs. The free trade mess has cost the U.S. more than 40 million jobs, all outsourced. To end it, dump every Democratic candidate across the board and make it clear WHY they are being turned out. No one expect the Republican's to "get it", but the Democrats, in 2012, might just field a slate of candidates opposed to free trade.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | November 17, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

I don't see what the big deal is. Okay, so they saved 600,000 jobs instead of 660,000. Or 500,000. These are all estimates anyway.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | November 17, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

"This administration is an embarrassment. Arrogant, ignorant and incompetent.

Posted by: conservativemaverick | November 17, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse"

Wow. It's just much better than the previous one we had. So I will take it - what choice do I have?

Posted by: ExpressReader | November 17, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Let me be clear that both Democrats and the Republicans share the blame for our economy being in the toilet. However, when the writing was on the wall in October of ’08, had the previous administration and congress given stimulus money directly to each taxpayer earning less than $250K annually in the form of a tax-free $30,000 rebate the economy would have been kick-started a year ago. Unfortunately, because ninety-five percent of our so-called "representatives" are bought and owned outright by the greedy cabals in the banking and investment industries, those responsible for the economic implosion were rewarded while their victims lost their investments, homes, jobs and retirement incomes.

AIG, B of A, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan – Chase and the rest should have been taken over, dismantled and sold in pieces as dictated by the capitalistic model which they and their political puppets defend so fiercely. To tell them that they were to big to fail not only told the people they are too small to succeed but emboldened these corporate thieves to continue with business as usual knowing that their Uncle Sam would come again to their rescue.

The real economy, meaning the people at the bottom, went ignored while the hemorrhaging continued untreated. This was allowed to continue for so long that recovery, real recovery, is going to be a long time coming.

Congress is like a festering wound. In order to be healthy it periodically needs to be cleaned out thoroughly. The current economic mess is the most compelling proof of that observation.

Posted by: bfjackjernigan | November 17, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

This administration is an embarrassment. Arrogant, ignorant and incompetent.

Posted by: conservativemaverick | November 17, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

No more stimulus packages. Save the money for food stamps and continuous expansions of unemployment benefits for the next 20 years.

It will take at least 20 years for the cost of American workers to be equivalent to the cost of overseas workers to stop the exporting of American jobs.

Posted by: bsallamack | November 17, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

The pail with a large leak.

The government spends billions to create American jobs in the job bucket, while the bucket has a large leak. Not very effective when American companies are allowed to export American jobs.

IBM to Cut 5,000 Jobs; D.C. Area Largely Not Affected
By Kim Hart
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 27, 2009
Officials began notifying employees on Wednesday and throughout yesterday about the layoffs. Technology services giant is in the process of shifting a large number of jobs to lower-cost regions, such as India.

Pring said IBM has been gradually moving jobs out of the United States to trim costs...

Posted by: bsallamack | November 17, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

while you're article has some points, it has NOTHING to do with the topic... that the obama admin is saying it created jobs and spent money in non-existent places.

So where is that money?

Posted by: tru-indy | November 17, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

==========================================

The money is in ACORN's pockets or some other democrat supporter's pockets. The democrats are the biggest thieves. Why won't they prosecute chris dodd, barney frank, charlie rangel, geitner, etc. Transparent my butt. How could you democrats have voted for such thieves?

Posted by: charlietuna666 | November 17, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

How much money did we spend on the Clinton
Nafta Stimulus? How much did our government
spend to help Corporations move to China and Mexico? Time to hold the Clintons accountable.

Posted by: umt123 | November 17, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

When is Tim Geithner going to arrest himself? And where was Sherrif Joe when they were shoveling all this money to ghost districts?

Posted by: NAuchi | November 17, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

We are coming to the end of the first year of the Obama administration and UMT123 is talking about the Clinton administration of nearly 10 years ago.

Whoever it is should really get a life. It's funny but absurd to make posts like that.

Posted by: peterdc | November 17, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Wall Street has and continues to off-shore industries and citizens jobs and livelihoods. The government and the service sector does not create wealth or real jobs only farming, manufacturing and mining creates wealth.
Wall Street is deliberatly responsible for: Milken's Junk Bond scam that destroyed main street industries, teh Savings and Loan Scam and now teh Subprime Mortgage Scam. Wall Street with the help of thier cadre of career politcians have looted and scammed our Republic's economy...the United States of America is now a failed state and no amount of stimulus or re-education BS is going to turn the economy arround, in fact what Washington has done has made the economy much worse and will prolong the economic decline of Main Street and our citizens while Wall Street prospers on thier foriegn/global economic empire.
I believe now that every thing that has happened to our economy has been planned and that teh goal of Wall Street interests is teh destruction of our Republic and the value of citizenship...they are at war with us...war as real as any enemy in our history. I am beyond understanding why supposed patriotic citizens have not returned the attack in kind...with arms if need be, why citizens have not protected thier jobs, thier communities and families or why citizens have not come to the defense of thier Republic.
I guess I have too many questions...like why hasn't anyone noticed that the economic, military and political agenda and polocies of Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and now Obama are exactly the same. It's because Wall Street is now the de facto government that has been making all important economic, political and military decisions and the evidense for that assertion is overwhelming. Wall Street controls the economy, they determine where industries will be, wages and benefits, they determine tax laws, they determine benefits, they determine what...I would go on but why bother...try and start a manufacturing business or anything else and Wall Street will destroy you if you try and compete with thier global empire...why do you think they destroyed USA industries...because of thier foriegn investments thats why and you know it now don't you...better get a rifle while you can because citizen, it has come down to this...them or us.

Posted by: 123Njord | November 17, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Wall Street has and continues to off-shore industries and citizens jobs and livelihoods. The government and the service sector does not create wealth or real jobs only farming, manufacturing and mining creates wealth.
Wall Street is deliberatly responsible for: Milken's Junk Bond scam that destroyed main street industries, teh Savings and Loan Scam and now teh Subprime Mortgage Scam. Wall Street with teh help of thier cadre of career politcians have looted and scammed our Republic's economy...the United States of America is now a failed state and no amount of stimulus or re-education BS is going to turn the economy arround, in fact what Washington has done has made the economy much worse and will prolong the economic decline of Main Street and our citizens while Wall Street prospers on thier foriegn/global economic empire.
I believe now that every thing that has happened to our economy has been planned and that teh goal of Wall Street interests is teh destruction of our Republic and the value of citizenship...they are at war with us...war as real as any enemy in our history. I am beyond understanding why supposed patriotic citizens have not returned the attack in kind...with arms if need be, why citizens have not protected thier jobs, thier communities and families or why citizens have not come to the defense of thier Republic.
I guess I have too many questions...like why hasn't anyone noticed that the economic, military and political agenda and polocies of Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and now Obama are exactly the same. It's because Wall Street is now the de facto government that has been making all important economic, political and military decisions and the evidense for that assertion is overwhelming. Wall Street controls the economy, they determine where industries will be, wages and benefits, they determine tax laws, they determine benefits, they determine what...I would go on but why bother...try and start a manufacturing business or anything else and Wall Street will destroy you if you try and compete with thier global empire...why do you think they destroyed USA industries...because of thier foriegn investments thats why and you know it now don't you...better get a rifle while you can because citizen it has come down to this...them or us.

Posted by: 123Njord | November 17, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

So the premise of this article is that because Obama's bureaucrats can't be trusted to open their mouths, they should just keep their mouths shut instead?

Funny position for a newspaper to take -- hiding the truth is somehow better than outright lying?

Posted by: diesel_skins_ | November 17, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I agree with all these posts. We should cut taxes again, de-regulate markets further, step up spying on private citizens via a bigger and better Patriot Act, invade another country for no reason, shun the rest of the world further and stop trying to revive the economy.

Then everything would be finE

Posted by: greg43 | November 17, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

How much money did we spend on the Clinton
Nafta Stimulus? How much did our government
spend to help Corporations move to China and Mexico? Time to hold the Clintons accountable.

Posted by: umt123 | November 17, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

In my department the federal stimulus money has saved one job - out of 12 employees. In my daughters school there are about 4 teachers who would have been let go without it. This is not an accounting trick. The money was not there to keep these people employed until the stimulus money was provided. And our Governor almost didn't take it because he was getting his stimulus in Argentina!

Posted by: SC_observer | November 17, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

America, what can say? This is what happens when you vote an incompetent empty suit into office. This man has no business leading this nation.

Posted by: DCer1 | November 17, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

We got job stimulus money where I work. We had to report how many new jobs we created so 48 eligible folks where shifted from one federal line to another which was 48 new jobs created in the report. Next year when we won't have those funds they will be shifted back to the old funding source. Wanna bet you won't hear about the 48 new jobs lost?

Posted by: FLvet | November 17, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

wheeljc _ of course it has. Obama is a free trader, one of those numbskulls that believes that outsourcing millions of jobs is good for us. That, however, doesn't make him any different than Clinton or Bush, or any different from the current Democratic and Republican Party leaders. We need to turn incumbents out of office across the board. If you vote for a candidate because they are a "liberal" or a "conservative", when what they really are is a free traitor, then you are the idiot.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | November 17, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

This is known as being hoisted by one's own petard.

He rammed through the largest spending bill in history by promising it would generate or save jobs.

Now, he's rying to justify himself and his actions by inflating job counts and creating districts that don't exist so he can report phantom jobs.

He and his administration can't even count right, let alone create or save jobs even after spending hundreds of billions of dollars.

Remeber people, this is the person who wants total control over your health care because he believes government can do a better job.

How do you feel about that claim now?

Posted by: krankyman | November 17, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse


Whatever OBAMA has touched has turned into a mess! TARP (As of early Nov, we now have 122 banks that have folded -- how much will the taxpayers get back?); Stimulus (are you stimulated …yet?); Auto Bailouts--they went bankrupt – and GM is still bleeding money; Cash for Clunkers--dealers still need repayment – and look at how much each car sold cost the taxpayers; NO Jobs; H1N1 Vaccine shortage; Afghanistan consistent indecision; Professor Gates; 10.2% UNEMPLOYMENT; Health Bill with government control (BUY PELOSI INSURANCE OR GO TO JAIL!); More NO Jobs; The Olympic Bid fiasco; Iran; North Korea; MORE NO Jobs; Europe's latest impression of the US -- especially Sarkozy; ACORN connections; Obama’s constant ‘overseas bowing demonstrations; GITMO goat ropin'; his medical panel which now calls for no mammograms for women until age 50 – how totally asinine; and More NO Jobs.

And now we are presented with ‘manufactured numbers for the Obama Stimulus’ – even one from the 15th Congressional District in Arizona WHICH DOES NOT EXIST!! Why should ANYONE TRUST THIS BAND OF THEIVES???? Obama appears to be attempting to run the USA like a ward on the South Side of Chicago!!

Obama’s instincts are simply troubling – as an example, we have a shortfall of H1N1 vaccine, but Team Obama was going to provide limited vaccine to the prisoners at GITMO. …. And apparently his friends on WALL STREET GET THE PRIORITY OVER KIDS!!! And how about his announcement to the American people of the horrific tragedy at Ft Hood on November 5?? It took him over two minutes at a conference he was attending to finally get around to acknowledging the murderous incident! It came only after his light hearted call outs, and introduction of his people (http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/politics/A-Disconnected-President.html )!! This folks, is a troubling when it comes to HIS PRIORITIES!

Given his PROMISE of transparency, would he please share with the US the algorithms he uses in determining "OBAMA JOBS SAVED"??

He does not have the common decency to accept responsibility for his sophomoric actions -- throwing one contender under the bus two weeks before the election -- (Deeds -- Virginia). IT IS ALL ABOUT OBAMA. SAD!!

…And now we have Eric Holder who wants to put on a show trial in NYC – at the expense of the US taxpayer – remember, he was the one who worked a pardon for Rich at the tail end of the Clinton administration!! TRUST HIM??

BE INTELLECTUALLY HONEST WITH YOURSELF:

Would you tie your wagon to this donkey????????????????

Posted by: wheeljc | November 17, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Uhm, the real scandal here isn't the dodgy data. The real scandal is that the government is somehow proud of spending $250,000 to "create or save" a job. ($160 billion/640,000 jobs).

This is comically inefficient. Only in DC could this be somehow imagined to be a successful program. The government could have created between 10 and 20 times as many jobs for the same money by offering a per-job tax credit to companies that show a net increase in employees.

Posted by: anon99 | November 17, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Save taxpayer money and follow the lead of business to prosperity.

America Leader In Exports

The business plan of American companies to export American jobs overseas began in 2002 and over 2 millions jobs have now been exported.

No other country in the world comes close to our lead in this area of exporting.

With every job in America that involves sitting in an office and using a computer and a telephone as a candidate for export overseas, America will remain a leader for many years in this new area of exporting.

Nothing will stop this new American leadership and dominance in the global economy.

Posted by: bsallamack | November 17, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

You have it backwards. Obama *justified* this stimulus program by promising measurable results, specific numbers of jobs created. After the fact, it was fudged to be "jobs created or saved". "Jobs saved" is nonsense and impossible to measure, anyhow. But, we now find that he simply invented the numbers. This is nothing new, though. The government invents numbers all the time - read: lies to us with a bald face - witness unemployment: 10.2% when every idiot "out there" knows full well it is something north of 20%, trade: the government stresses the *value* of goods exported and never reports that a mere 5.4% are of manufactured goods, the rest being raw materials, making us just another third world cesspool, waiting to exploited. The numbers that people are interested in are the 40 million jobs outsourced, the 4.5 million U.S. IT workers who have lost their jobs due to the H1-B visa, the plunging dollar, the upcoming inflation spike when the pump and dump boys from Wall Street get done inflating the price of oil, food, and other commodities, the 80 plus seats that the Democrat's stand to loose in the upcoming House elections due to their "free trade" insanity. Oh, and Obama's falling approval ratings, so incompetent, so bad, he has actually managed to make George W. Bush look good.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | November 17, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I do believe that the WaPo got a little confused and published this article in the wrong section. A completely biased and opinionated article, arguing against political strategy, really belongs on the op ed page. Or perhaps Mr. McGillis has forgotten that he's supposed to be reporting the news, not creating it. This is just another in a long line of Mr. McGillis's opinions. I don't have any problems with him writing for the op ed page, and I know that he sometimes does. But he needs to put on his reportorial hat when he's writing this kind of article.

Posted by: marmac5 | November 17, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse


I knew it wouldn't be long before the LIB T@RDS of America came to the rescue. Only a total id10t would be more concerned about the section of the paper the article is in then the story itself. This id10t may very well be the dumbe$t person living in the US. By the way the story belongs right where it is. ON THE FRONT PAGE.

Tonight everyone should take a walk. If you see a car sporting an Odumbo/Bonehead sticker cut the tires. It’s not like these losers have jobs to go to. And on top of that they’ll be doing their part to move the economy along.

Posted by: askgees | November 17, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

What should always be mentioned in this reporting is that government spending cannot create jobs.

If the government wants to spend money then it has to get that money from somewhere.

If the government gets the money from taxes then it is removing money from somewhere else in the economy. So there is a loss of activity in that area with a loss of jobs. If the government then spends that money on "creating" or "saving" jobs somewhere else then it has not created any new jobs. In fact, it's probably caused a net loss of jobs.

If the government gets the money from borrowing then it's driven up interest rates (by increasing the demand for money), which will cause a loss of jobs in the short to medium term. When those borrowings are eventually paid back, the money has to come from taxes. Again, that removes money from somewhere else in the economy. So there is a loss of activity in that area with a loss of jobs. Again, there is probably a net loss of jobs overall (in this case over time).

Of course, the "created" jobs are obvious and can be counted (well, sort of). The lost jobs are spread over the economy and over time. And those people probably will never know that the "stimulus" spending caused them to lose their jobs.

And that's why these sorts of policies continue.

Posted by: xyz4 | November 17, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

"On Thursday, Republicans are asking the head of the RAT board, Ed Devaney, to come before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform -- to answer for the validity of jobs numbers that Congress demanded, only to now be surprised to find that they are less than perfect."
==========================================
Please. If the only problem were that the numbers were "less than perfect," nobody would be complaining.

But this is ridiculous. These numbers go way beyond "less than perfect." When you hear that congressional districts that DON'T EVEN EXIST are getting millions of dollars, your reaction, if you are of normal intelligence, is "Why should I believe ANYTHING about ANY of these numbers?" This is lying on a cosmic scale.

You know Dave Barry is already working this story into a starring role in his annual year-in-review column:

"Hamster Huey got a hundred and eleventy kajillion dollars in stimulus funds and saved a hundred-twenty billion jobs in India; administration officials were quick to correct the report, noting that Hamster Huey had in fact been eaten by weasels shortly after the stimulus money was distributed to him, and he had actually created only forty-two jobs and saved only another three hundred fifteen. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said he was 'pretty sure' the government would be able to recover most of the hundred and eleventy kajillion dollars that Hamster Huey had not already spent on ACORN-provided prostitutes."

Posted by: gilbertbp | November 17, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

ohbummer.

Posted by: gatorsnc81 | November 17, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I do believe that the WaPo got a little confused and published this article in the wrong section. A completely biased and opinionated article, arguing against political strategy, really belongs on the op ed page. Or perhaps Mr. McGillis has forgotten that he's supposed to be reporting the news, not creating it. This is just another in a long line of Mr. McGillis's opinions. I don't have any problems with him writing for the op ed page, and I know that he sometimes does. But he needs to put on his reportorial hat when he's writing this kind of article.

Posted by: marmac5 | November 17, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

how in th e hell can these morons create jobs instantly? the only way is all workers are sent to china,india,mexico, pakistan etc etc and work for slave wages,which the corporations that fled this country pay. moron in china doing what? 47 million in this country do not have enough food. screw the world.take care of our CITIZENS

Posted by: pofinpa | November 17, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Wise up, the stimulus was never intended to create jobs. Its primary purpose was to payoff and bribe corrupt organizations like SEIU and ACORN.

Posted by: rajens00 | November 17, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I did have higher hopes of this President, but on the other hand I can't refember one who didn't wildly fudge the facts and diddle the digits to prove he's accomplishing something.

Posted by: Capn0ok | November 17, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

"unprecedented level of transparency and accountability...

More and more, it is looking like this approach may have been a strategic mistake."

Like telling the truth is an option. Released by the Gov or not, the truth eventually works it's way to the surface. From the beginning the spin has been so bad you could tell that the entire Porkulous was a failure. The more Obama and his butt kissing press stooges keep trying to convince everyone that "jobs were saved".

Posted by: mdsinc | November 17, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

?washingtonpost.com > Nation > Wires
Obama orders task force to fight financial crime"

He should start by investigating Congress and the White House, who have defrauded trillions of dollars.

Posted by: pkhenry | November 17, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

According to www.recovery.gov, ZIP code 89520, which is downtown Reno, Nevada, has gotten $35,459,942 (so far) to create ZERO jobs, which, if my math is right, works out to infinite dollars per job, or something like that.

My guess is they unloaded the money off the delivery truck and immediately set it on fire.

Posted by: gilbertbp | November 17, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Those who hate America, our Government, and our President hate the Stimulus and want to send our tax dollars to their comrades overseas.

I prefer we rebuild America - not Iraq, not Afghanistan, not Pakistan.

America.

ARE YOU WITH ME AND AMERICA?

Or are you against us!

Posted by: WillSeattle | November 17, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, what did anyone expect. You start with a "stimulus" bill that everyone knew was mostly rewards for past services, you stuff an administration with Obamanista Kool-Aid drinkers who think they're doing God's work, and bingo, you've got some sketchy numbers.

Posted by: LHS2 | November 17, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

If you believe any of Obama's numbers you are crazy or unbelievably misinformed. In Georgia they saved over 800 jobs in a place where less than 600 were employed. How about this: In June, the federal government spent $1,047 in stimulus money to buy a rider mower from the Toro Company to cut the grass at the Fayetteville National Cemetery in Arkansas. Now, a report on the government’s stimulus Web site improbably claims that that single lawn mower sale helped save or create 50 jobs.

Posted by: Mindboggle | November 17, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

RECOVERY.GOV-GATE: ANOTHER CYBER BLACK OP?

URGENT TO VP BIDEN (c/o Jay Carney):

Today's Drudge Report headline -- Recovery.gov web site "embarrassment" -- the purposeful work of a cyber psy op intended to subvert the Obama-Biden administration? Consider asking Roslyn Mazer at Office of DNI to investigate. Also, please know this:

SECRET MULTI-AGENCY FED PROGRAM TORTURES, IMPAIRS, PERSECUTES THOUSANDS OF U.S. CITIZENS WITH NATIONWIDE SILENT MICROWAVE/LASER WEAPONS SYSTEMS, LOCAL VIGILANTISM: VETERAN JOURNALIST

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america OR http://NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Did this "program" target the Ft. Hood shooter?

***
U.S. CENSORS THE NET AS OBAMA LECTURES CHINA ON NET CENSORSHIP

More "Stupid 'Humint' Surveillance Tricks" By "Fusion Center" Operatives

http://nowpublic.com/u-s-censors-net-obama-lectures-china-net-censorship

Note: the price of reporting these stories is constant interference with my telecommunications -- not just censorship, but malicious tampering that constitutes harassment. When will the Obama administration wake up and smell the police state that makes a mockery of the rule of law and is subverting its policies from within?

Posted by: scrivener50 | November 17, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

The Stimulus = the biggest con ever committed against America. Makes Madoff look like a poster boy for petty larceny.

Posted by: Revcain777 | November 17, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Obama/Biden's www.recovery.gov site is reporting a 20% inflated number, at least, in "jobs created + jobs saved". Included, for example, are numbers from Arizona's 15th Congressional District. Last we knew Arizona had 8, not 15, Districts and the "15th Congressional District" was invented with a lie to boost the numbers. The "main stream media" finally is catching on as local news organizations check out further ficticious numbers.


"Trust me, I'm from the government".

ACORN likely will demand additional tax monies (out of your pocket) to do "Community Organizing" in the dozens of so far uncovered non-existant "Districts"

This morning's Las Vegas Review-Journal Editorial included this from SNL's parody:(Jon Lovitz portraying a typical D.C. Congressman) "Uh, it will create or save 3 million to 4 million jobs. Er, 1 million jobs. I mean, it will create or save 650,000 jobs. Yeah, that's the ticket!"

Investigations of stimulus contracts show wild exaggerations of the legislation's effect. Beyond guaranteeing the full salaries and benefits of tens of thousands of state government workers, the stimulus spree has done next to nothing to jump-start the economy. Which is why the president now plans to hold an "unemployment summit" that, thankfully, won't require the spending of billions more dollars.

And we're supposed to believe health care "reform" will be different.

Yeah, that's the ticket!

Posted by: tucanofulano | November 17, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

$230,000 per low-paying job is typical waste for the government. The question is - who pocketed the other $200 K?

Posted by: pkhenry | November 17, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

The wheels are beginning to come off for this snake oil salesman. What a crook. And what an incompetent administration. He's going to make the Bush Administration look like a finely oiled machine.

Nathan Hale

Posted by: nathanhale28 | November 17, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Wow what a surprise.
America's chickens are coming home to roost.

Posted by: Votingis4Suckers | November 17, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

So a few numbers are off and there are a few mistakes. What is the percentage of mistakes compared to correct information? Probably pretty small.
People on the right will not give Obama credit for anything, they haven't since the day he won (in a landslide).

Posted by: gce1356 | November 17, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

More and more people are realizing that Odumbo is an inexperienced incompetent, who is at best a narcissit, and at worst a leftist who would destroy or economy, our security and our health care.

This loser needs to be sent home ASAP.

All his cabal of eggheads does is tell huge lies in order to fabricate accomplishments.

Posted by: LarryG62 | November 17, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I am an African American male and I voted for Obama and I am here to tell you that I made a mistake. HE IS INEXPERIENCED & A BLOWHARD!

The sad thing is that the Republicans don't have anyone on the horizon right now who stands a SNOWBALL'S chance of replacing him in 2012.

OH, OH!

Posted by: whatyoutalkinboutman | November 17, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

manipulated data is not new...

it has been institutionalized going back to Ronald Reagan...yes Uncle Ronnie fudged the numbers... the work of John Williams has conclusively shown this...don't let the name "Shadow Government Statistics" put you off, this ain't conspiracy mumbo jumbo.

It is Shadow Government as in a parlimentary system like in England where the out of power opposition party is known as the shadow government replete with shadow ministers...

as written about in Harper's Magazine, amongst others, see for yourself...

http://www.shadowstats.com/


Posted by: teoc2 | November 17, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Obama being dishonest about something! Shocking!!!! Inflated and imagined numbers and successes? No way that the "Administration of Change" would lie to us would they?

Nothing suprising here....all the lemmings who voted for this guy can keep celebrating as his failures continue to be made public.

Posted by: southside721 | November 17, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Wonderful! ACORN is now in charge of Jobs Recovery!

Posted by: Revcain777 | November 17, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Obama because you will believe anything.

Posted by: affirmativeactionpresident | November 17, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

It appears ACORN is now running the Jobs Recovery.

Posted by: Revcain777 | November 17, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Boy, that Obama is a real straight shooter, isn't he? At least Clinton was a believable liar.

Posted by: RossOdom | November 17, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Obama has ordered the creation of a fraud task force. The first thing they should examine is Obama and his closest advisors.

Posted by: fenoy | November 17, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

"Republicans are asking the head of the RAT board, Ed Devaney, to come before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform -- to answer for the validity of jobs numbers that Congress demanded, only to now be surprised to find that they are less than perfect."

"Surprised" -- what a biased thing to write. Every House Republican opposed the stimulus, this boondogle is no surprise. Obama is cooking the books on jobs.

Posted by: MediaWatchdog | November 17, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

while you're article has some points, it has NOTHING to do with the topic... that the obama admin is saying it created jobs and spent money in non-existent places.

So where is that money?

Posted by: tru-indy | November 17, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company