A follow-up to Ed’s post on Michigan this morning reminding us once again that if you start with a garbage indicator like jobs “created or saved,” you’re bound to end up with garbage data. How much garbage? 75,000+ phantom jobs, and that’s based only on what newspapers have dredged up so far. The White House actually excluded data from another 60,000 bogus jobs from its recent “Recovery” report because even they couldn’t come up with a way to spin it credibly. A taste:

One recipient – Talladega County of Alabama – claimed that 5,000 jobs had been saved or created from only $42,000 in stimulus funds.

“The administration committed from the start to be upfront with the American people about the impact of the Recovery Act. Overall, the recipients provided good information on the impact of the Recovery Act across the country,” Rob Nabors, deputy director at OMB, told ABC News Monday. “The test that we used when examining the data for accuracy was, ‘Is that reasonable?’ When the answer was no, we acted accordingly.”

“For instance,” Nabors noted, “there is little chance that a $42,000 grant actually created 5,000 jobs, and we did not want that count to be part of the final jobs report. We are continuing to examine data for inconsistencies or errors, whether small or large. Given the unprecedented nature of this reporting effort, these are cautious, responsible steps to ensure that the information provided to the American people is accurate and reliable.”

Follow the Examiner link, scroll down to the items below the map, and see for yourself what sort of crap did constitute genuine job creation according to OMB’s “cautious, responsible steps.” Like Baseball Crank, my favorite is the one from Fayettville, Arkansas.

The punchline? The Examiner’s piece isn’t even the most embarrassing stimulus story of the day. Brace yourselves: My friends, it’s come to this. Exit question via Jim Geraghty: This really does explain the “57 states” gaffe, doesn’t it?