Obama administration: Raises count as jobs “saved”

posted at 12:55 pm on November 4, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

This could only come from people who never worked in the private sector.  Almost by definition, an employee in the private sector who gets raises does not face any danger of having their job eliminated.  However, according to the Obama administration, salary increases coming from Porkulus count as jobs “saved”:

President Barack Obama’s economic recovery program saved 935 jobs at the Southwest Georgia Community Action Council, an impressive success story for the stimulus plan. Trouble is, only 508 people work there.

The Georgia nonprofit’s inflated job count is among persisting errors in the government’s latest effort to measure the effect of the $787 billion stimulus plan despite White House promises last week that the new data would undergo an “extensive review” to root out errors discovered in an earlier report.

About two-thirds of the 14,506 jobs claimed to be saved under one federal office, the Administration for Children and Families at Health and Human Services, actually weren’t saved at all, according to a review of the latest data by The Associated Press. Instead, that figure includes more than 9,300 existing employees in hundreds of local agencies who received pay raises and benefits and whose jobs weren’t saved.

It’s not the first time the AP has found these shenanigans in the White House claims on Porkulus, and they continue to do good work in rooting out more ridiculous calculations and assumptions.  The previous numbers also included raises given to employees as “jobs saved,” which the White House said a couple of weeks ago were accounting mistakes for which they had corrected.  Now, however, the administration defends the practice as a feature, not a bug:

But officials defended the practice of counting raises as saved jobs.

If I give you a raise, it is going to save a portion of your job,” HHS spokesman Luis Rosero said.

No, it isn’t.  A raise means the job wasn’t at risk of being lost in the first place.   In fact, it’s worse than that, as just a moment’s thought would indicate.  It means that Porkulus spent money on a job that was secure that could have been spent on really creating or “saving” a job elsewhere.

When that didn’t fly, the White House said that the overreporting was necessary to balance out underreporting elsewhere.  No, really:

Ed DeSeve, who oversees the stimulus at the White House, said the Head Start numbers “represent a few percent of all jobs reported” and said the problems would probably be balanced out by other errors that underreported jobs.

That stands as a clear admission that Porkulus has no reliable metrics for “saved or created” jobs, nor is the White House interested in creating any.  They want to make up the numbers to get the best political bang for the buck.  It’s nothing more than Democratic pork spread to the special interests that fuel the Democratic Party, with a White House pulling jobs numbers out of a hat while unemployment skyrockets.

Update: Meanwhile, back in Chicago, they’re saving more jobs than exist … kind of like Chicago elections.  Save early, save often!

More than $4.7 million in federal stimulus aid so far has been funneled to schools in North Chicago, and state and federal officials say that money has saved the jobs of 473 teachers.

Problem is, the district employs only 290 teachers. …

The Obama administration last week released the first round of data designed to underpin the worthiness of its economic stimulus plan, which so far has directed $1.25 billion to Illinois schools. That money has helped save or create 14,330 school jobs in the state, the administration claimed.

But those statistics, compiled initially by the Illinois State Board of Education, appear riddled with anomalies that raise questions about their validity, according to a Tribune analysis of district-by-district stimulus spending and other state data. Many local school officials were perplexed by the stimulus data attributed to their districts.

In the official report, Wilmette Public Schools District 39 was credited with 166 jobs saved by stimulus aid. Superintendent Raymond Lechner said the number should be zero.

At Dolton-Riverdale School District 148, stimulus funds were said to have saved the equivalent of 382 full-time teaching jobs — 142 more than the district actually has.

A similar discrepancy was found in data for Kankakee School District 111, where the stimulus report logged the equivalent of 665 full-time jobs saved. “That’s impossible,” a top Kankakee school official said, adding that the entire payroll — full and part time — is 600 workers.

Why not just claim a zillion jobs saved or created?  It would have just as much credibility.

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Can I just point out the mind-numbing stupidity of the people filling out these forms:

At Southwest Georgia Community Action Council in Moultrie, Ga., director Myrtis Mulkey-Ndawula said she followed the guidelines the Obama administration provided. She said she multiplied the 508 employees by 1.84 — the percentage pay raise they received — and came up with 935 jobs saved.

Could someone tell Director Mulkey-Ndawula that 1.84% of her 508 employees is 9.35 jobs?

Off by a factor of 100, that is probably also about right for the true total cost of ObamaCare.

motionview on November 4, 2009 at 2:17 PM

It’s criminal. Nothing else to call it.
lorien1973 on November 4, 2009 at 12:57 PM

SJBS Stim Job Bull Stuff

Only 66.6% Bogus!

DSchoen on November 4, 2009 at 2:17 PM

Why not just claim a zillion jobs saved or created? It would have just as much credibility.

Oh, come on now, Ed. You’re just being silly.

Can’t you see that Team Obama is trying to engage in a serious dialogue about the success of Porkulus?

[Do I really need to add a /sarc tag?]

UltimateBob on November 4, 2009 at 2:17 PM


The extra unit was “saved” as a result of 2+2 not equaling 5.

Good Lt on November 4, 2009 at 1:05 PM

I spoke with the economic modelers at Treasury, and with the statisticians at Labor.

They explained the calculus of their data thusly:

5-(2+2) = 1

1 = Job saved.

Which leads to this reasoning:

172,000,000 – (2+2) = 171,999,996 jobs saved (or saved/created).

I said “your math is good, but where did you get the 172M number from?” They both said “email”.

Makes sense. On planet Bizzaro.

BobMbx on November 4, 2009 at 2:22 PM

Let me see if I understand this: We used the stimulus money to raise the salaries of governemnt employees? You can’t be serious about that! I work in the private sector. My salary (along with everyone else in my company) was frozen. I pay taxes which make up the money in the stim package. And the government has the audacity to give what I’ve earned to raise the salaries of government workers who actually produce nothing? I am absolutely livid!

thetriguy on November 4, 2009 at 2:23 PM

Could someone tell Director Mulkey-Ndawula that 1.84% of her 508 employees is 9.35 jobs?

Off by a factor of 100, that is probably also about right for the true total cost of ObamaCare.

motionview on November 4, 2009 at 2:17 PM

See, this is exactly the point. It’s obvious that, through design or incompetence, the number of jobs “saved or created” by the Stimulus is very badly overcounted. Which means that those estimates of dollars spent per job are way too low. Someone, somewhere, is pocketing billions of dollars from the Stimulus, and it’s not the workers. Why won’t the media touch this story? Follow the money — who benefits?

jwolf on November 4, 2009 at 2:24 PM

How come they get to count “saved” and “created” but they don’t have to count “lost”?

pappy on November 4, 2009 at 2:26 PM

Dear President Obama:

Let me tell you what a “saved” job is. A saved job is one where I have taken a personal pay cut from my own business because I am doing everything I can to keep from laying off staff people who have worked for me for over a decade.

“Saving” a job means for the last year paying my staff people more than I pay myself. Sometimes I don’t pay myself at all.

“Saving” a job means that this “immoral” capitalist will make sacrifices to make sure that, in the long run, I can still have an employee six months from now who can help my business grow again.

“Saving” a job means some months when I wonder whether I am going to make my own car/rental/support payments because your brilliant schemes have placed me in the position of bringing home $2500 per month less than I did eighteen months ago.

“Saving” jobs means having to tell former vendors that I have to cut back on purchases because my business is tightening its belt.

“Saving” jobs means holding on as long as I can until it no longer makes sense to do so.

“Saving” jobs means having faith that the American people know how to solve problems, and in the long run individual decisions made by millions of people will bring my business back to the level of income it formerly produced.

“Saving” jobs means that I am still paying my own taxes at the effective rate of 33% if my income, as well as continuing to paying payroll, property, personal property and sales tax when I could desperately use the money to “save” current jobs and perhaps add jobs in the future.

“Saving” jobs leaves me awake at night wondering if there will be enough cash flow from accounts receivable to pay my staff and pay vendors without dipping into a line of credit that the bank is more reluctant than ever to extend.

“Saving” jobs means wondering whether I will be able to afford mandated health coverage for both my employees and myself when I have historically purchased only catastropic coverage for myself.

“Saving” jobs means anticipating the effects of cap-and-tax legislation that will further erode cash flow and consumer and business confidence, and whether I will be able to navigate those uncertain waters recklessly churned by an avaricious government.

“Saving” jobs means not being able to see my kids as often as I used to and deferring vacations that seem to be getting shorter and further apart.

“Saving” jobs means wondering why I still bother, and why some people are the recipients of government largesse and I am left to financially bleed.

“Saving” jobs means a gnawing resentment of watching state and federal payrolls bloat beyond the ghoulish, and knowing that I and my other comrades in business/trades/professions will continue to pay for it.

Mr. Obama: “Save this!” (Insert colorful bodily gesture of your choice).

ObjectionSustained on November 4, 2009 at 2:39 PM

Saved or Created was always a huge load of BS. They could only ever have gotten away with such a vapid concept with the complicity of the state-run media.

Anders on November 4, 2009 at 2:43 PM

Does anyone know what the civil service exam entails now?

Is this another test that has been so “homogenized” that any reasonably bright 10 year old could pass it? How does an adult not know how to figure simple percentages?

I realize it is nothing new that many government workers aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer (my mother told me about people who worked at Tempo 8 adjunct to the Pentagon and Dover AFB back in the 40s and 50s when she was a secretary) but for heaven’s sake.

Also I will correct that “sharpest knives” dig a little. There are many lazy government workers because when they find out they can shift their duties onto others and how little is really expected of them, it all goes downhill from there. My Aunt was one of the shifters and my cousin was one who carried the water for the two older ladies in her department who knitted all day.

Greyledge Gal on November 4, 2009 at 3:06 PM

Only proves, once again, there is something in the water in D.C.. They all become thieves and liars. It’s a mental defect where they can no longer do the same math you and I learned in 3rd grad.

ObjectionSustained – yours @2:39PM is one fine piece of writing. You clearly put into words what everyone else is thinking and going through.

24K lady on November 4, 2009 at 3:08 PM

Rumor has it that the drive by media is working on a deep investigation that will determine this accounting to be a sham.

The report will be released just in time when a Republican assumes the presidency.

kevinkristy on November 4, 2009 at 3:32 PM

They didn’t create jobs, and didn’t even save the jobs of folks who would’ve lost them. Instead, they gave raises to government employees.

Yeah, that stimulus was a GREAT idea.

hawksruleva on November 4, 2009 at 3:34 PM

Their lies and maneuvers are getting so unUTTERably tiresome.

Can’t wait for 2012.

inviolet on November 4, 2009 at 3:52 PM

Does the 5% paycut I took earlier this year count as a job loss?

lionheart on November 4, 2009 at 4:04 PM

You got a raise, so your job was saved is TOTAL BS.

How do I know this is TOTAL BS? I got a 4% raise and exactly 12 days later got laid off..along with half my department, who also got a raise.

ramrants on November 4, 2009 at 4:41 PM

Yes, one word as Mr Morrissey said. (totally) Clueless.

Lady Heather on November 4, 2009 at 6:02 PM

Y’all get on your knees and praise the Job Savior, now!

Cybergeezer on November 4, 2009 at 6:29 PM

You clearly put into words what everyone else is thinking and going through.

Thanks, 24K. I felt better after writing it.

ObjectionSustained on November 4, 2009 at 6:57 PM

Only in the Obama-Biden Bizzaro World.

kens on November 5, 2009 at 12:46 PM