Maybe the real surprise is that the White House is still using Porkulus formulas to make their job-creation claims, years after they have been discredited by newspapers across the country. The New York Times belatedly took a closer look at job-creation figures from the Obama administration, and found that — like Obamanomics — they just don’t add up:
CREATING jobs is an essential goal today, given our high unemployment rate. But when job programs rely on taxpayer backing, their success or failure should be clearly disclosed.
For example, the United States Department of Agriculture has called its $1.6 billion business and industry loan program a rousing success. Not surprisingly, the department often trumpets the number of jobs that are expected to result from these loans — figures that it gets from the borrowers themselves. Whether these jobs are actually created, however, is another story.
The loan guarantee program is overseen by the Rural Development unit of the Agriculture Department and is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Rural Development provides loan guarantees of as much as 90 percent to banks or other approved lenders that finance the improvement or development of businesses in rural and high-unemployment areas.
Those who followed the long and bankrupt saga of the green-tech subsidy program will find this a very familiar tale, if on a smaller scale. Once again, the Obama administration decided to “invest” large amounts of taxpayer dollars into questionable operations. Once again, the White House overpromised on jobs — far beyond even what the recipients of the funds proposed would be created. And once again, the administration demonstrated that bureaucrats don’t make good venture capitalists.
For instance, the program’s website brags about its success with Carolina AAC, a concrete manufacturer who got more than $10 million in 2010 to build a new plant in Bennettsville. The USDA claims that this will create 197 jobs, but three years later, the plant still isn’t complete — and it’s only going to create 36 jobs, and only 10 have been created so far. Even at the full 36, that comes to $288,889 per job … or it would, if the company wasn’t in liquidation.
Similarly, closer to me, the USDA “invested” over $4 million in Singletary Foods in small-town Wells, Minnesota, which was supposed to create 220 jobs. Only 30 people ever worked at Singletary at one time, though, and the $4.36 million has disappeared along with those 30 jobs. The bank seized Singletary’s property and sold it off to investors, while Singletary Foods’ owner is trying to find another $5 million to build his plant.
Clearly, USDA bureaucrats aren’t terribly adept at picking trustworthy “investments.” The White House shows similar trustworthiness in its jobs-creation claims. The only question we have left to answer is just how many millions — or billions — this administration has lost in such “investments” in four and a half years. Maybe we need a Dodd-Frank for the public sector.