New math for the stimulus
The original justification for the stimulus, as the administration described it, was that it would "save or create about 3.5 million jobs." But it looks like counting those just got a bit more difficult:
The White House says it will no longer keep a cumulative tally of jobs created and saved by the stimulus. Instead, it will post only a count of jobs for each quarter.
And instead of counting only created and saved jobs, it will count any person who works on a project funded with stimulus money — even if that person was never in danger of losing his or her job.
The new rules came out last month in a little-noticed memo (PDF) sent to federal agencies by Peter Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget. OMB said it changed the guidelines to prevent the kinds of errors and confusion that occurred when the first job counts came out in October.
Also, props to Michael Grabell at ProPublica for noticing an important line in a seemingly obscure memo that most of us didn't bother to read. As for the policy shift here, I'm not sure how much sense it made to have small agencies estimating job creation, but it's nevertheless the case that the new guidelines bias the job count upwards.
January 12, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
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Posted by: OttoDog | January 12, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse
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