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October 30, 2009

CBS News: Obama's Just Kinda Making Stuff Up About Jobs "Saved or Created"

Two big points I want to make:

First of all, that Florida day care center that claimed Spendulus money "saved or created" 129 jobs when in fact the money they got was simply used to give all existing employees raises?

That's not a "mistake."

When the WH demanded that those who received Spendulus money "report" back on how many jobs were "saved or created," they insisted upon a nonsensical rule: If a single dollar of Spendulus was spent on an employee's salary, whether that employee was a new employee or an old one, that gets counted as a job "saved or created." If he's a new employee, that job was created. If he's an existing employee, that job was saved.

For $1.

Yes, $1. Because the nonsensical rules the White House told these people to count "saved or created" jobs by simply stated: If any employee's salary is paid, in whole or in part (any part!), count that as a job "saved or created" by the spending.

And then report that number back to us.

Note that the White House's rules do not seek to discover which jobs really were "saved or created." To come to that conclusion, one would need a set of more rigorous rules -- which excluded some jobs from the "saved or created" category, rather than attempting to include them all under that rubric.

For example, you'd need a rule like: "If the funding pays more than 10% of an employee's salary, and the management feels the employee would not have been hired, or would have been fired, but for that spending, then this job should be counted as 'saved or created. "

They didn't do that. They didn't set a 10% threshold, or even a 1% threshold. A single dollar counts as saving or creating a job.

Further, they never asked if the employee would be out of a job but for that spending.

Because they didn't want to actually find out which jobs were saved or created. They just wanted as large a number as possible, even if it made no sense, and had nothing at all to do with jobs really affected by the spending.

So, if a factory gets $5000, and divides that, $50 a worker, among 100 workers, you know how many jobs were "saved or created" according to Obama?

100. Even though $5000 obviously doesn't cover a single part-time salary, let alone 100 full-time salaries.

If a factory gets $5000, and divides that, $1 a worker, among 5000 workers, Obama's rules say 5000 jobs were saved or created.

And note that in neither case does the employee have to be a new one. It could be a guy working there for 30 years, whom the company would never even consider firing. Per the rules, if he gets 50 bucks, or even a single dollar, his job was right there "saved" by Bonny Prince Barack.

So the Florida day-care center that gave themselves all a small raise didn't make a "mistake." They reported the numbers precisely as Obama -- who is signing their checks, after all -- dictated.

The problem is not a "mistake" in implementation. The problem is that rules are sham from the start, contrived to force an absurd conclusion.

The second point is this: At no point in all of American history has the metric ever been what jobs a president has "saved or created." The metric has always been the concrete, easier-to-determine number of how many jobs were lost and how many were gained. There has never before been a "saved" category, ever, and yes, all other presidents in an ailing economy would of course like to shift focus from the jobs lost to those they can claim were "saved."

It is only Obama -- special rules for special people! -- who has ever been so shameless as to attempt to shift the terms of debate to something so favorable to him (and so hard to determine), and it is only in Obama's case has the media been so compliant they went along with the charade.

The media should ask themselves why Bush never sought credit for what jobs he had supposedly "saved" -- surely he "saved" some, eh? He could not have gone 8 years with multiple tax cuts and multiple stimulus packages without ever once "saving" a job that would have otherwise have been lost -- and what their reaction would have been if Bush, rather than President Prissypants, had demanded they respect this brand-new, politically-helpful metric of "jobs saved."

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posted by Ace at 12:16 PM

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