President Obama and his flacks constantly have claimed that the government’s $787 billion stimulus package has created or saved hundreds of thousands of jobs. The numbers don’t back up the claim. In fact, the numbers don’t clarify anything.
For example, on Oct. 30, Mr. Obama claimed the massive government spending program had already created or saved 640,239 jobs. California supposedly saved the most jobs, with 110,185 rescued workers. But this job “creation” involves some very creative accounting. The 110,185 number does not reflect new jobs or even jobs that likely would have been lost, according to the Sacramento Bee. About a quarter were not even in jeopardy.
If you buy into the propaganda, the California State University (CSU) system supposedly saved a whopping 26,156 jobs, more than half of its total statewide work force. According to Camille Anderson, a spokesman for the California Recovery Task Force, “CSU assured the California Recovery Task Force that they self-reported in strict adherence with federal reporting requirements.” The expansive claims beg the question of how the saved jobs were counted. Even those who have put the numbers together acknowledge that they meet no sensible economic criterion. “This is not really a real number of people,” admitted Clara Potes-Fellow, a spokesman for the university system.
What made the CSU case so obvious was that its numbers were so extreme. No one believed the university system was going to let go more than half its employees. CSU bureaucrats claimed they were able to save jobs for just about $10,000 per job. By contrast, the average job supposedly saved or created in California cost $75,000 in stimulus funds. The numbers are important because 325,000 of the 640,239 supposedly created or saved jobs were in education.
With the national unemployment rate above 10 percent and rising, the Obama administration needs more than accounting gimmicks to bring about a turnaround.