More Stimulus Accounting Shenanigans

Any person with a room temperature IQ can figure out that the Obama "jobs saved" metric is complete BS, a measure that is totally unmeasurable, and therefore can be set to any value the Administration wishes.

But this is, if anything, even crazier:

How much are politicians straining to convince people that the government is stimulating the economy? In Oregon, where lawmakers are spending $176 million to supplement the federal stimulus, Democrats are taking credit for a remarkable feat: creating 3,236 new jobs in the program's first three months.

But those jobs lasted on average only 35 hours, or about one work week. After that, those workers were effectively back unemployed, according to an Associated Press analysis of state spending and hiring data. By the state's accounting, a job is a job, whether it lasts three hours, three days, three months, or a lifetime.

"Sometimes some work for an individual is better than no work," said Oregon's Senate president, Peter Courtney.

With the economy in tatters and unemployment rising, Oregon's inventive math underscores the urgency for politicians across the country to show that spending programs designed to stimulate the economy are working "” even if that means stretching the facts.

At the federal level, President Barack Obama has said the federal stimulus has created 150,000 jobs, a number based on a misused formula and which is so murky it can't be verified.

On a full-time FTE basis, the report figures Oregon has "created"  215 full-time jobs.  They don't even attempt to do the math on how many jobs were destroyed when $176 million was taken from other productive uses.  But does anyone else syspect that the private hands the $176 million was formerly in probably would employ more than 215 people for that chunk of change?

  • Agammamon

    215 jobs created for $150,000,000 = $697,674 per job.
    I think one useful metric would be how much wealth is added to the economy for the duration the job exists. If its greater than what was outlayed the it was worthwhile, if not get rid of the position.

    Lots of potential for misrepresentation, but it would at least force these people to think about the reason we pay others to work.

  • Michael

    This is a great racket. You take someone on the unemployment rolls, give them a week's worth of work, they are then unable to go back on the unemployment rolls. This is a win win for government.

  • Scott Wiggins

    Obama's saved or created jobs number reminds me of the "body count" metric from Vietnam. McNamara's statistical approach to measuring success by counting the number of dead bodies on the battlefield. Unfortunately, we found out that as long as we had a determined enemy shooting back at us or rather waiting until we withdrew superior forces so that they could claim the ground we had just taken made the metric meaningless as we ultimately found out. As well, Obama's smoke and mirror claims vis a vis jobs saved or created have zero intellectual weight. You would think the great minds in the media and democratic party would take note. Obviously, he and they think they are governing fools who will swallow every shit sandwich they hand us...

  • Mesa Econoguy

    They don’t even attempt to do the math on how many jobs were destroyed when $176 million was taken from other productive uses.

    Let's see, opportunity cost confusion. And public vs. private. And gross vs. net. And IRR, crowding out, CBO, OMB, CEA, etc.

    These morons are seriously confused.

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  • James H

    "I think one useful metric would be how much wealth is added to the economy for the duration the job exists. If its greater than what was outlayed the it was worthwhile, if not get rid of the position."

    Keep in mind that government only consumes wealth. No wealth is added, and since every dollar must pass through some beauracracy which takes its cut, it is similar to the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

  • http://herdgadfly.blogspot.com/ gadfly

    Not to be left out, Congress has specified that all 250,000 new vehicles purchased under the "Cash for Clunkers" program will be counted as positive effect under the stimulus program. Edmunds believes that only about 50,000 of the new vehicles will actually be incremental sales gains. If true the billion dollar program will cost taxpayers $20,000 for each of the "new" sales.

    http://tinyurl.com/mgyssm

  • jeff

    3,236 "jobs" x 35 hours = 113,260 man-hours.

    $176,000,000 tax dollars / 113,260 man-hours = $1,554/hr.

    They don't say what kind of jobs these are, but I can't believe the labor employed is worth 5% of the hourly cost. That's a staggering level of inefficiency. Dropping $176 million dollars from a helicopter would benefit the economy more.

  • mgcc

    If I had to guess, the difference between the $176M and what was actually paid to the workers went straight into government general fund. Oregon's budget deficit as % of revenue is one of the nation's worst. I think the jobs created figure was intended to reassure the federal grantors of the funds as well as the Oregon voters.

  • PD Quig

    When I ran for Congress, I was told that there would be no math...