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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