Porkulus above the pay grade of its chief?
posted at 5:10 pm on June 10, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
We laughed over Joe Biden’s gaffe yesterday regarding a Porkulus-funded tunnel in New Jersey, but the American Spectator points out another that most of us missed on the same conference call. When pressed for supporting data on Obama administration claims of 600,000 jobs being “saved or created” by the stimulus package in the near future, the man in charge of the stimulus claimed ignorance:
Vice President Joe Biden said on a Monday conference call with reporters that it was “above [his] pay grade” to explain in detail the methodology the White House uses to estimate the number of jobs created or saved by the economic stimulus legislation, but stressed that there had been no “reasonable” challenges to the estimates.
During the call, Biden said that the stimulus package, which was signed into law in February, saved or created 150,000 in its first 100 days, and he outlined White House plans to accelerate the pace so that 600,000 more jobs will be saved or created in the second 100 days this summer.
Asked by Jonathan Riskind of the Columbus Dispatch to explain how the White House determined these numbers, Biden said that the Council of Economic Advisers makes its estimates based on measuring what the U.S. employment level would have been without the stimulus, and then comparing it to the nation’s actual employment level.
“I’m sorry I’m not an economist,” Biden said as he was describing the methodology. “My background is foreign policy and the constitution. “
Of course, that’s why Barack Obama put Biden in charge of the economic stimulus project. It makes as much sense as:
- Appointing an auto czar who never worked in the auto industry
- Assigning the GM bankruptcy to a 31-year-old law-school dropout with no experience in cars or Wall Street or bankruptcies
- Picking a GM board chair with no experience in the auto industry, because GM isn’t just about carmaking, or something
Biden wound up defending the numbers because he hadn’t heard any “reasonable” challenges to them. Since economics is above his pay grade, who is Biden to know what criticisms are “reasonable”? While some in the White House press corps have been asking for the actual data behind these claims, though, Biden is mostly right that the national media hasn’t really challenged the administration on their claims. Maybe that’s above their pay grade.