More Porkulus 3-card Monte in Colorado, Washington
posted at 3:35 pm on November 11, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
This comes as no surprise to anyone who gave the notion of “saved or created jobs” any thought at all, except to the extent that media outlets have begun to challenge the numbers proclaimed by the government. We’ve already seen the deceptive and misleading statistics challenged by local and regional newspapers in several states, as well as by some of the national media. We can now add Colorado and Washington to that list, where Porkulus job numbers have been seriously inflated by adding in jobs that were never at risk in the first place.
• Englewood-based TeleTech Government Solutions listed the equivalent of 635 full-time jobs credited to Colorado created by recovery funds used to set up call centers on the conversion to digital television. Only the equivalent of 34 of them were filled in Colorado. The rest are scattered across the country.
• The city of Westminster reported that its $150,438 contract for road work on Lowell Boulevard would create 117 jobs. That would equate to $1,286 per job. The city said the estimate is based on anyone who will work on the project, even if it was for only one day. No federal officials told the city to convert to the number of full-time-equivalent slots, an official said.
• Two child-development centers — one in Colorado Springs and the other in Saguache County — reported they had created or saved more than 292 jobs combined. However, the money — totaling about $650,000, or $2,226 a job — was used to give employees cost- of-living raises. Only three new jobs were created.
• Some subsidized-housing projects listed their entire staffs as jobs retained as a result of stimulus spending even if the money was the same rental assistance for their tenants they had received in previous years. Combined, they could total as many as 200 jobs.
The Denver Post says that a thousand of the 8,094 jobs claimed to have been “saved or created” by the Obama administration are simply vaporware. It’s not any better in Washington — in fact, it’s quite a bit worse:
New numbers released by the federal government Friday estimate that the federal stimulus package has helped create or save 34,500 total jobs in Washington, making it the state with the third-largest reported number of stimulus jobs behind California and New York.
But there’s a caveat on those job creation numbers: 24,000 of them probably weren’t in danger in the first place.
State officials used a chunk of stimulus money to cover paychecks for 24,000 teachers who were already contracted to finish out the school year. That money came from a pot of stimulus funds given to the state to help offset budget cuts.
Without that funding, the money to pay the teachers would have come out of the state general fund, said Jill Satran, Gov. Chris Gregoire’s main adviser on stimulus projects.
That would have meant cuts elsewhere, Satran said, but the job losses that would have resulted from such cuts is difficult to quantify. Few, if any, of the 24,000 teacher jobs would have been among them, Satran said.
That means that more than two-thirds of the claimed jobs have not been “saved” at all. The state would have paid the teachers anyway. What that grant money did do was allow the state to save the jobs of less-critical bureaucrats by playing shell games with the money. Instead of tightening their belts, the bureaucrats in Washington postponed efficiency and fiscal responsibility while allowing the Obama administration to pretend that they have saved the jobs of teachers and public safety officials whose jobs were never at risk at all.
The entire Porkulus accounting effort consists of these shell games. The Obama administration built it for this kind of dishonest reporting, in order to claim credit for doing something about joblessness while unemployment accelerates. We’ve wasted months and tens of billions of dollars already just to rescue states from doing what they should have done at the beginning of the year: downsize bureaucracies and roll back the cost of their government on their overburdened citizens.
These states join those already reporting the Porkulus fraud:
More will undoubtedly be forthcoming.