Cooking the books on Porkulus effects?

posted at 10:55 am on April 20, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The White House now claims that they have saved or created over 2.8 million jobs with Porkulus, the massive spending bill passed in the first days of the Obama administration.  How exactly do they get that number?  Big Government compares the latest declaration from the White House to their original projections, and discovers that Barack Obama has claimed addition from subtraction:

The number of jobs in the U.S. is currently 129.7 million.  So to justify the Administration’s current claim of 2.8 million jobs “created or saved” by stimulus, they need to also claim that without that stimulus there would be only 126.9 million jobs.  That’s exactly what they do, displayed as the “baseline projection” level in the graphic below from an April 14, 2010 report …

An inconvenient truth, at least for the Obama Administration, is that once upon a time, in their January 2009 Romer/Bernstein Report they told America that without their stimulus there would be 133.9 million jobs.  That’s right, in order to make it look like their stimulus has “created or saved” 2.8 million jobs, the Obama Administration first had to whack 7 million jobs from their previous estimates.

At the center of the issue is this chart from the Council of Economic Advisers.  Watch carefully what happens to the “baseline” (number of jobs without Porkulus) in the last four quarters of the report:

Note that the chart reports its source as BLS data, but with “CEA calculations.”  The chair of the CEA, Christine Romer, offered this as a projection in January 2009 of the same “baseline” number for the fourth quarter of 2010:

Without Porkulus, Obama’s economic advisers warned that we would only have 133.8 million jobs in the US, but would have almost 3.7 million more than that with Porkulus.  Now, suddenly, the baseline has dropped all the way down to 126.9 million, and that’s three quarters sooner than the bottom-out point suggested in their original analysis.  They simply subtracted seven million from their previous baseline in order to claim growth that has never materialized.

“Saved or created” has always been a fraud.  Now we see how the three-card monty works.

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A Chi-Town pol that ain\’t on the up and up? Someone give me that Capt. Louise Renault award!

abobo on April 20, 2010 at 10:59 AM

And there will still be believers in Keynes (governemnt spending) theory after all these examples in the last ten years that show it is ineffective at best.

WashJeff on April 20, 2010 at 11:01 AM

How exactly do they get that number?

By pulling it out of their @ss.

These people make Enron & Bernie Madoff look good.

rbj on April 20, 2010 at 11:01 AM

But Ed, you have to keep in mind that was with 8% unemployment that they predicted. Since we’re hovering at 9.7% for quite some time, that’s the 7 million difference.

It’s not correct, but that’s how they did it. They’re counting the jobs “created or saved” on both ends, twice.

ButterflyDragon on April 20, 2010 at 11:02 AM

In other words, my job was “deemed” to have been lost so that now I’m supposed to be thankful to Honest Obe that I still have it.

Yeah, good luck with that.

AubieJon on April 20, 2010 at 11:02 AM

The hot career is Repo man.
2 numbers that are simple and to be avoided by the liars are total number in workforce and total employed.
The workforce has added 3 million workers since Obama came in.. new grads and people getting old enough to work. That means we need more than 200,000 more employed each month to absorb the new workers. It is not going to happen.

seven on April 20, 2010 at 11:05 AM

Two more things… first, even with their goalposts moved, note how stable the actual numbers Post-ARRA rather than any lasting decline; second, for an idea of how overly stable the graph is, realize that the scale on the y-axis only goes from 125k to 140k, and y and x-axis intersection were 0, the chart would look like it barely moved since even before the ARRA boondoggle…. if anything, there seems to be no evident treatment effect of the ARRA given the data they show, when contextualized in a non-dishonest way.

Wineaholic on April 20, 2010 at 11:06 AM

What is the left’s obsession with these doughy white guys with quasi-feminine wardrobes?

Ogabe’s regime lied, water is still wet.


Inanemergencydial on April 20, 2010 at 11:08 AM

They can manipulate the numbers all they want. In the end, the American people are well aware that jobs are scarce. Plus the ultimate indicator that unemployment is high is the deficit(both at federal and state levels). The reason revenue to the government is so low right now is because people ain’t working.

Doughboy on April 20, 2010 at 11:10 AM

They are spending a hell of alot of money cooking the books. That must be more than a couple jobs saved or created right there.

ORconservative on April 20, 2010 at 11:14 AM

Watching stupid people learn something brings delight.

All my idiot liberal friends are so effing bummed right now. The city is cutting services, there are no teacher jobs, contractors are not putting their employees to work, the city has cut back on trash pickup, gas prices are high, we are still in two wars, ammo prices are sky high(yeah most of my libbie friends are gun owners)…on and on.

One by one the O stickers have come off the bumpers and the elation of having democrats in control has worn off.

Stupid people require pain to learn, and the democrats are delivering that every single day.

Inanemergencydial on April 20, 2010 at 11:15 AM

This is the most pathetically dishonest administration ever.

I will never consider even listening to another Democrat in my life.

BuckeyeSam on April 20, 2010 at 11:18 AM

A large suburb of Portland laid off workers yesterday. It was funny how big the news was. In the reporting of the news, the justification for the firing was the drop in building permits but “with the economy recovering there is confidence that the laid off workers will be called back soon”.

ORconservative on April 20, 2010 at 11:18 AM

And here I thought it must be at least 8 million new jobs created or saved, meaning the unemployment would be twice what it is …

tarpon on April 20, 2010 at 11:20 AM

This is great news! I guess we can stop extending the unemployment benefits now, right?!

(do I really need the sarcasm tag) ;)

atlgal on April 20, 2010 at 11:21 AM


BigWyo on April 20, 2010 at 11:23 AM

Wahrheit macht frei. Arbeit nicht. Machts nicht. Scheiss.

LarryG on April 20, 2010 at 11:24 AM

seven on April 20, 2010 at 11:05 AM

I’m wondering what all those young college kids are going to think after graduation when Obama doesn’t give them that $60K/year job when they’ve got $100K in student loans.


Laura in Maryland on April 20, 2010 at 11:24 AM

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again….if anyone can prove that Obama has said ANYTHING that isn’t a lie, it would be unprecedented and historical! He even lies about his fave baseball team!

search4truth on April 20, 2010 at 11:27 AM

That is one ugly dude in the screen capture on the main page.
That’s not a guy? Blech!

Torch on April 20, 2010 at 11:28 AM

And people have the gall to wonder why no one trusts these fools.

Can you imagine if they were subject to any kind of performance standards that might be found in say…the private sector???

Hey, yer FIRED!!

BigWyo on April 20, 2010 at 11:30 AM

Related parody: White House Announces Massive Government Spending Bill “Created or Saved” Millions of Well-Educated Middle Class Protesters

Mervis Winter on April 20, 2010 at 11:33 AM

I wonder if anyone in this administration has a clue that telling Americans who can’t find work find that the government has provided them with 2.8 million opportunities is like pouring salt in their wounds. Where are they Mr. President? Tell the people where the jobs are so they can go apply for them! Post the jobs online so people can see them! Where Are They?

scalleywag on April 20, 2010 at 11:34 AM

Tell that to the people out of work.

rjoco1 on April 20, 2010 at 11:38 AM

Ignore the short term. At any given moment, there will always be some aspect of the economy that seems to be improving in some way, or at the very least worsening more slowly than it did last month.

We need to ignore all the flak. Always focus on — and only comment on — the big picture: “In the fifteen months since Obama took office GDP has dropped by x%; unemployment was increased by x%; total wages have dropped by x%, etc., etc….”

LET THEM change their story every week, and even re-write history on a daily basis. We can’t do anything to prevent that.

All we need to do is keep repeating the exact same line over and over and over again. Just updating it every month.

Their megaphone will always be much, much larger than ours. We don’t have a Memory Hole, or a Ministry of Language, etc.

But if we just focus on pounding out a single drumbeat; even if it starts small; over time we will eventually get the message through even the thickest skulls.

logis on April 20, 2010 at 11:40 AM

The manufacturing of counterfactuals is booming. Call my broker!

DrSteve on April 20, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Using their numbers the headline “Stimulus Causes 4.2 Million to Lose Their Jobs” would be accurate also.

133.9m employed without stimulus – 129.7m employed today.

uniclone on April 20, 2010 at 11:53 AM

Doesn’t look like her diet has had much effect. Hangin’ around porkulus will do that. No salt for you, madam.

Kissmygrits on April 20, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Cooking the books on Porkulus effects?

Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.

Mark Twain

rukiddingme on April 20, 2010 at 12:03 PM

Using their numbers the headline “Stimulus Causes 4.2 Million to Lose Their Jobs” would be accurate also.

133.9m employed without stimulus – 129.7m employed today.

uniclone on April 20, 2010 at 11:53 AM

That doesn’t take into effect their initial predictions.

They initially predicted 8% unemployment if the porkulus was passed. But, we actually got 9.7%.

Also, the 133.87M number is a prediction for total employment at Q4 of this year, which is not here yet.

You can’t compare to numbers that have no relation to each other. Well, you can, but it’s nonsense.

The only thing to do is compare the 137.55M number (with stimulus) to the actual employment number at the end of Q4 2010. That way you’re comparing two like numbers. The difference is going to be the tell-tale sign. (I suspect they’ll be off nearly 9M for total employment numbers.)

As long as they can twist a 3.4% differential, they will try to show it as a positive. (They will use the 1.7% differential in their predicted unemployment number and actual unemployment number twice) Since I expect them to be off by around 7% the wrong way, they’ll just state the 133.87M number was way too optimistic.

Now, if CEA gave a quarter by quarter breakdown for those employment numbers, we could take a gander at what they stated for Q4 2009 and see how far off they were and then make hay with something concrete.

Right now they can still fudge numbers all they want because they can always qualify a new prediction with Biden’s statement of not understanding how bad things really were.

I personally think it would be better to take a look at the total employment number prior to porkulus and compare it to now. That would be a more accurate assessment. Especially since they’re trying to tie GDP percentages as statistically relevant to unemployment percentages.

ButterflyDragon on April 20, 2010 at 12:27 PM

Wonderful, Ed. Another home run.

J.E. Dyer on April 20, 2010 at 12:41 PM

Sounds pretty good to me. Now if they can just trick business owners into believing they have virtual customers that aren’t really there.

Frankly, no amount of spin can fool folks into thinking their bank balances are higher… or that you have a job when you do not.

ElRonaldo on April 20, 2010 at 12:43 PM

…This is right from the report that Romer presented and Obama bragged about, that would keep unemployment at 8% and save/create over 3 million jobs:

Christina Romer: Chair – Nominee- Designate
Council of Economic Advisors

Jared Bernstein: Office of the Vice-President elect

. The plan needs to include a range of components, such as direct government spending, state fiscal relief, and tax cuts to ensure that jobs are created quickly and throughout the economy.

. An aggressive recovery program is important for protecting all Americans from job loss, but
particularly for aiding those groups disproportionately hurt by the rise in the overall unemployment rate.

. A well designed recovery plan will not only create numerous jobs, but also many jobs paying
good wages and providing full-time employment.

whoa!!!!..that last bullet point is a right on the mark…

….emphasize “a well designed recovery plan” will accomplish these things…….
….so since they have not been accomplished…according to Obama’s own economic wizards….this recovery plan is a failure.

Baxter Greene on April 20, 2010 at 1:29 PM

…Obama’s own administration states that this bogus “jobs saved” line is without merit:

But in the face of millions of jobs continuing to be lost,Obama and his administration decide to go with the unverifiable “jobs saved” (based on Keynesian financial models that where shown to be absolutely worthless about the time bell bottom jeans went out of style) .

So it is no wonder this is the results coming from the Administration:

Earl Devaney, the man in charge at,

“Your letter specifically asks if I am able to certify that the number of jobs reported as created/saved on is accurate and auditable. No, I am not able to make this certification,” Devaney wrote, in a letter provided to ABC News.

However, Devaney can’t certify the jobs data for a more fundamental reason: it’s all fake. The “saved or created” formulas from the White House do not relate to reality, even when properly reported back to As we have seen in state after state, the jobs listed as “saved” were mostly never at risk in the first place. In most cases, they were public-safety and education jobs that would have been spared in favor of other, less critical bureaucrat positions that states didn’t want to highlight as existing, let alone being “saved.”

….from Obama’s CBO:

“It is impossible to determine how many of the reported jobs would have existed in the absence of the stimulus package.”

So now reality starts to set in:

(via Hot Air/McClatchy)

Thirteen months ago, Christina Romer and the aggregated economic advisers of Barack Obama claimed that the stimulus package they demanded from Congress would curtail unemployment by stimulating the economy, keeping the unemployment rate under 8% in 2009 and forcing in down throughout 2010. Yesterday, Romer essentially admitted that her analysis had completely failed.

….and super smart Joe “jobs is a three letter word” Biden
speaks truth to power:

(On failure of the Stimulus)

“The figures we worked off of in January were the consensus figures and most of the blue chip indexes out there,” Biden said. “We misread how bad the economy was,

VP Joe Biden on ABC’s This Week,
July 5,200

Thank God the “adults” are in charge!!!

Baxter Greene on April 20, 2010 at 1:33 PM

Well Obummer said he would do anything to put Americans back to work………even if he had to lie!

Herb on April 20, 2010 at 1:45 PM

In the private sector, these people would be on the street or in jail for cooking the books like this.

Mallard T. Drake on April 20, 2010 at 2:06 PM

In the private sector, these people would be on the street or in jail for cooking the books like this.

Mallard T. Drake on April 20, 2010 at 2:06 PM


Loss causation must be proven in the private sector. You can’t rely on a what-if scenario from an alternate universe and claim it as your proof.

That’s why it will never really matter what the Obama administration says about these jobs that were “saved or created” because it all depends upon an alternate universe.

Saying they created or saved one job is equally valid as saying they created or saved ten million jobs. They can’t prove or disprove either statement.

ButterflyDragon on April 20, 2010 at 2:19 PM

Soooooo….you don’t create jobs by diverting 3/4 Trillion Dollars from the Treasury to a Chicago/Democrat slush fund???

I’m shocked!!!! Who knew???


landlines on April 20, 2010 at 2:50 PM

Nobody mentioned the other obvious benefits:

Porkulus has reduced the number of alien invaders from the planet XORP below the millions which would have shown up if Obama had not shelled out the seven hundred billion to his scary Chicago buddies!!

It has also prevented the mass trampling of Alaska by charging wild bull elephants!

landlines on April 20, 2010 at 2:54 PM

The whole, stinking, lying bunch is disgusting and a huge embarrassment to the Republic. Thanks, liberals……

ultracon on April 20, 2010 at 3:11 PM

Here we go again…Born to lie and licenced to steal.

The slave masters just created thousands more government employed slaves at the expense of the earning class.

Power to the sheeple on the government dola. Re-elect Obama and keep your share cropper status.

saiga on April 20, 2010 at 3:37 PM

The whole, stinking, lying bunch is disgusting and a huge embarrassment to the Republic. Thanks, liberals……

ultracon on April 20, 2010 at 3:11 PM

Unfortunately, the liberals are far too stupid to understand what they have done…..but they will soon once the wagon stops in its’ tracks when there is no one left to pull it.

Imagine a country full of Chris Mathews cloans. Who in their right minds would want to live there?

saiga on April 20, 2010 at 3:41 PM