Yesterday I noted how Oregon claimed credit for creating thousands of jobs through their stimulus funding, but neglected to mention that the jobs only lasted a few hours.  Today, a CBS affiliate in northern California points out another strategy for creating stimulus jobs — hiring people for what they thought were paying jobs and transforming them into volunteers, involuntarily:

Students working in a summer youth program funded by federal stimulus dollars tell CBS 5 Investigates they have not been paid the money they are owed. At least one instructor also said he is going unpaid.

All are working for a program called the Oakland Green Civic Campaign, which is one of 13 summer programs funded in Oakland to serve low-income youth and young adults who meet stringent federal income and residency guidelines.

The programs are administered by the Oakland Private Industry Council (PIC).

Students Kiyomi Cox and Donald Biagas work in a culinary program that’s part of the Green Civic Campaign. They enjoy learning to work as chefs, but say after six weeks of working they still haven’t received their paychecks.

I could create a lot of jobs this way myself.  Anyone who wants to work for me in any capacity, please submit your application, along with a signed acknowledgment that you expect no pay for your services.  Believe me, I’ll be glad to credit President Obama with that kind of “job” creation.  At least that system is a little more honest than what these Oakland teens have experienced.

Even without the dishonesty, the two stories demonstrate the folly of having the government handle capital investment and job creation.  They don’t do either efficiently, even with the best of intentions.  In this case, it’s more than a little hypocritical, as government agencies would have swarmed over any fully private enterprise that treated its employees in this manner — and politicians like Barack Obama would have used it as an example of how “profiteers” exploit the poor and powerless.

Between this, the Cars for Clunkers program, and the other Porkulus screw-up stories, has this mini-boom in faith in government expertise finally come to an end?  Or do we need to turn over our health care system to the same bureaucratic bumblers to get people to finally realize this particular folly?