14 June 2009

Oops - We Guessed Wrong But Don't Worry, We Know What We're Doing

According to the AP: 'Vice President Joe Biden said Sunday that "everyone guessed wrong" on the impact of the economic stimulus, but he defended the administration's spending designed to combat rising joblessness. Biden said inaccuracies in unemployment predictions shouldn't undercut the White House's support of the $787 billion economic revival plan that has not met the expectations of President Obama's team. Instead, the vice president urged skeptics to look at teachers who kept their classroom assignments and police officers who kept their beats because of financial assistance from Washington. "The bottom line is that jobs are being created that would not have been there before," Biden said.'

Oh really? I notice two immediate problems with Biden's statements.  First, he conflates jobs created with jobs saved ("... teachers who kept their ... assignments and police officers who kept their beats" with "... jobs are being created that would not have been there before.").  Second, he fails to even claim (much less back up) that the stimulus plan is the best way to save or create jobs, and doesn't bother to look at the possibility that the jobs claimed as a victory by the White House may be unrelated to the stimulus dollars.  In other words, it's a lot of hot air (no offense intended to Ed Morrisey).

We've gone from millions of promised jobs to 600,000, and no one really knows how many jobs have been gained or retained.  The Wall Street Journal stated: 'Of course, the inability to measure Mr. Obama's jobs formula is part of its attraction. Never mind that no one -- not the Labor Department, not the Treasury, not the Bureau of Labor Statistics -- actually measures "jobs saved." As the New York Times delicately reports, Mr. Obama's jobs claims are "based on macroeconomic estimates, not an actual counting of jobs." Nice work if you can get away with it.'

Are 600,00 jobs worth $787 billion in stimulus (not to mention the budget expenditures)?  Is it worth it to the country to spend billions per job?  One would thinks that if we're willing to spend billions on 600,000 jobs, we'd be willing to spread that wealth around in tax cuts.

In one of the states hit hardest by the recession, Michigan, residents report that they see no effect from the $3.8 billion allocated to date.  Ditto for here in Florida.  Our dysfunctional sister, California, is unable to move or decide, and we're spending billions on fictional numbers.  Mr. Biden, there's just no getting around the fact that your team (and your boss) doesn't know the first thing about creating, saving or counting jobs.

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