Hoo, boy, isn’t it amazing what happens when the truth comes out? Barack Obama has been trumpeting the idea that he’s ‘created or saved’ 150,000 jobs (with 600,000 predicted for the summer) for quite some time now, but what does that really mean? How does one ‘save’ a job? If anyone can point to an official metric that tracks ‘saved’ jobs, please do. To my knowledge, no one in the country can do so because such a thing simply does not exist. Even more importantly, however, is the fact that he keeps saying this as the unemployment numbers — which are tracked, verifiable, and well established — continue to spiral madly upwards.
So, the obvious question is: what the heck is he talking about? Here’s your answer.
First, let’s set the stage. Politically speaking, the phrase ‘save or create’ is a stroke of genius:
“You can measure how many jobs are created between two points in time [said Harvard Economist Greg Mankiw]. But there is no way to measure how many jobs are saved. Even if things get much, much worse, the President can say that there would have been 4 million fewer jobs without the stimulus.”
During a March hearing of the Senate Finance Committee, Chairman Max Baucus challenged Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on the formula.
“You created a situation where you cannot be wrong,” said the Montana Democrat. “If the economy loses two million jobs over the next few years, you can say yes, but it would’ve lost 5.5 million jobs. If we create a million jobs, you can say, well, it would have lost 2.5 million jobs. You’ve given yourself complete leverage where you cannot be wrong, because you can take any scenario and make yourself look correct.”
Genius…and only possible in an environment where the rampant redefinition of words is commonplace. Thank you, liberalism.
So how does Obama actually come up with any specific number? A reporter ***GASP!*** actually asked VP Joe Biden about this since Biden has been tasked with heading up the stimulus efforts. His response:
…when reporters asked the VP to explain how the White House even came up with the 600,000 number, he asked for a pass, saying a question like that is “above his pay grade” and, “I’m sorry, I’m not an economist. My background is in foreign policy.”
That is so comforting coming from the guy who President Obama tasked with implementing the stimulus plan.
No joke! But, let’s play along and go to the next highest pay grade: Barack Obama. Did he literally snatch 150,000 out of thin air? No, but Obama isn’t giving any answer at all, so we are left to speculate. The best guess is this:
We all know the actual answer: Obama’s team calculated that spending X amount would “create or save” X jobs, and they’re sticking with the formula even while unemployment skyrockets and reveals their utterly useless pronouncements.
From what I’ve seen, there are two ways to look at this. First, you can actually look at the numbers and see that they’ve strategically picked a number so insignificant that it cannot be proved nor disproved because it is within the margin of error of any objective attempt to quantify things. More details (from an actual economist) can be found here, if you’re interested.
The second way is much more entertaining. In reality, Obama and his team have simply done the math on how many jobs they think their ‘stimulus’ spending will create per dollar. Then, they look at how much taxpayer money has been flushed down the toilet so far, divide by the job-per-dollar number, and voila! That’s how many jobs have been ‘saved or created’! Another way to say it would be to add up how many jobs you think would have been lost if you hadn’t done anything, and then claim that as your ‘saved or created’ jobs.
This logic, of course, opens the door to innumerable ways to achieve goals of all kinds:
That piece of cheesecake I didn’t eat every day last week? You got it — I created-or-saved at least two pounds of weight loss. And I freed up space for more ice cream. It’s a win-win.
Create-or-save is a great way to finance that special vacation or home addition. Just add up what you haven’t spent on something. (The more expensive the project is you’re trying to finance, the more creative you’ll have to be about what you haven’t indulged in. But the sky’s the limit.) Then apply those savings to something else you’d like to indulge in. Resisted those designer sneakers three times? Decided against hiring the personal chef? Had second thoughts about that weekend getaway? Didn’t go to Hawaii or Paris last year? (Don’t forget to include what you would have spent on a Parisian shopping spree — it really adds up fast.) You’ve freed up lots of hypothetical cash. And you can lose the guilt. You’re not being irresponsible; you’re just stimulating the economy. Create-or-save is not just fun — it’s patriotic!
It’s a combination of liberal redefinition, a lack of accountability, and media spin that have allowed Barack Obama to claim success in ‘creating or saving’ thousands of jobs. Reality, however, tells another story:
They’ve found their hockey stick graph…
US Loses Most Jobs At Fastest Rate In History Under Obama
Via the Bureau of Labor Statistics– via Sweetness and Light.
The Obama Administration may have created or saved 150,000 jobs but the the jobless numbers continued to rise this week.
The AP reported:
The Labor Department said Thursday that initial claims for unemployment benefits fell last week by 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 601,000. That’s below analysts’ estimates of 615,000.
Still, the number of people claiming benefits for more than a week rose by 59,000 to more than 6.8 million, the highest on records dating to 1967. The department also revised last week’s data on continuing claims, replacing what had been a drop of 15,000 with an increase of 6,000.
That means continuing claims have set records for 19 straight weeks.
And that’s the real answer.
There’s my two cents.