Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lying About Jobs



Politics: It's bad enough having a jobless recovery with jobs "saved or created" in nonexistent congressional districts and ZIP codes. Now the administration is measuring stimulus progress by moving the starting point.

We, and others, have commented on how hard it was to measure a job that was "saved" by the administration's stimulus package.

You can't prove that a teacher, say, would have lost his or her job in the absence of federal stimulus money. Then there's always the question of what happens when the stimulus money runs out.

Administration claims of "saved or created" jobs were always suspect, especially as the unemployment rate rose above a promised stimulus ceiling of 8% to near double digits. As people keep asking where are the promised jobs, the administration has hit upon a new deceit — change the point from which you measure progress.

A report was touting the success of the administration's stimulus package even before it was sworn in. Released on Jan. 10, 2009, the report showed joblessness peaking at just below 8% under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Without stimulus, we were told, there would be 133.9 million jobs in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2010. That's the baseline. With stimulus, we would have almost 3.7 million more than that.

Today, there are 129.7 million jobs. The folks at looked at the data and found that to justify the administration's current claim of 2.8 million jobs saved or created, they had to lower the baseline by 7 million jobs to only 126.9 million.

This is a little like a football team making a first down, not by advancing the ball 10 yards, but by having the referees moving the first-down marker.

Indeed, a chart in the April 14, 2010, report on the stimulus shows that's what the administration has done. It has moved the yard markers by altering and lowering its original baseline projections.

The administration continues paying a shell game with its "saved or created" job claims. First, it went from "creating" jobs to "saving or creating" them. Then it listed jobs saved or created in nonexistent congressional districts and zip codes. Now it's altering its own baseline projections to show progress where there is decline.

If the administration was asked if the employment glass was half-empty or half-full, it would probably pour the water into a smaller glass to make it look fuller.

There are hundreds of jobs now held by those congressmen and senators who supported this failed stimulus and its successors and who cheerfully parrot the administration line that it is working.

These jobs should not be saved this November.

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