according to the CBO’s top official, the figures in this report and previous mandatory stimulus don’t actually tell us whether or not the stimulus created jobs. That’s because, as I’venotedsomanytimesbefore, the reports rerun slightly updated versions of the same models of that were used to estimate that the stimulus would create jobs prior to the law’s passage. And lo and behold, if you create a model that predicts the law will create jobs, and then you rerun a mild variation of that model a few years later using updated figures about what money was actually spent, it still reports that the stimulus created jobs. But there’s no counting here, no real-world attempt to assess the reality of the stimulus—just a model that assumes that stimulus spending will create jobs and therefore reports that stimulus spending has in fact created jobs. As CBO director Douglas Elmendorf confirmed on the record last year in response to a question, “if the stimulus bill did not do what it was originally forecast to do, then that would not have been detected by the subsequent analysis.”
Further, the fact that we can count individual jobs in stimulus programs (of which there are all too few, which is why the Administration doesn't do this), we still have to take into account an offset effect. The trillion dollars came from somewhere, and in effect were diverted from private to public hands. To justify the stimulus, one needs to be able to argue that the public use of these funds created more jobs than the private use of these funds. Good luck with that.