A little over a month ago, I wrote that “the administration crosses the line between methodological soundness and propaganda whenever it states, in the context of touting reports filed by stimulus recipients, that it has created or saved large numbers of jobs.”
Today, Jake Tapper reports:
The Obama administration has taken some heat and mockery for using the nebulous and non-economic term of jobs being “saved or created” by the $787 billion stimulus program.
So it’s gotten rid of it.
In a little-noticed December 18, 2009 memo from Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag the Obama administration is changing the way stimulus jobs are counted.
I’m glad that they acknowledged the problem.
Unfortunately it seems like their “solution” is even more misleading than the original metric. Rep. Darrell Issa wrote a letter (pdf) outlining the problems to the Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board:
…the new guidance counts every jobs that is funded using stimulus money – even if it existed before the Recovery Act, and was not in any danger of being eliminated – as ‘created or saved.’ This definition ignores the plain meanings of the words ‘created’ and ‘saved’ and makes Recovery.gov’s ‘ ‘JOBS CREATED/SAVED’ label a falsehood…
Unfortunately, it seems that Issa has it right. Tapper quotes an OMB spokesperson spinning the change in language as recommended by the Government Accountability Office, but it’s hard not to notice that it will further inflate the already grossly exaggerated “created or saved” numbers. Is there any doubt that we’ll see the administration holding press conferences and showing off these numbers soon? It would be nice if, when they do so, they mention that the numbers have nothing to do with reality.
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