Biden on the stimulus: Some money's being wasted, some people are being scammed

So it is and so it’ll be with anything that government touches — except GM, of course! — although rare’s the government that has as its number two a doofus willing to admit it. Mary Katharine Ham snarks ruthlessly but forgets the upside to this scammy waste, i.e., the number of jobs that are being “created or saved” by the spending. Which, as former deputy White House press secretary Tony Fratto reminds us, is a number pulled straight from Team Barry’s derriere:

There is only one necessary data point to make the “jobs-saved” claim: an accurate measure of expected employment levels in the future. That baseline data is critical to measure what the employment level would be in the absence of the stimulus. Unfortunately for the White House, they cannot possibly know that measurement within any degree of confidence — and they know it.

To understand just how unknowable this data point is, it’s not necessary to be an economist, a mathematician or a statistician.

You only need to know this: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) – thousands of the most professional and rigorous counters and analyzers of labor data in the history of mankind – makes TWO revisions of employment data for their ESTIMATE of the PREVIOUS month! And even then the reports are mere estimates – an annual benchmark survey is required to reset the nation’s payroll baseline.

That is, the best employment statisticians the world has ever known, people whose lives are dedicated to employment data, conducting labor surveys and research, constantly refining their complex models, have a difficult time telling you how many jobs were created in the PAST!

In other words, it’s like trying to predict how your stock portfolio will perform and then using your half-assed prediction as a yardstick to measure the prudence of your trades going forward. If you predict a 10 percent decline next month and only lose five percent instead, you must be doing pretty well, huh? You saved five percent. You would think our media might want to press The One on this dopey, dishonest concept, if only because righty blogs (which of course they don’t read) have been snarking about it since the moment the phrase “created or saved” first escaped one of his advisors’ lips. The fact that they don’t is, as the man said, unhealthy. Exit question via Ace: “Surely, at some point, George Bush ‘saved’ some jobs (when he wasn’t actually creating them — as jobs were created just about every month of his tenure). Anyone care to estimate the media’s reaction at a hypothetical George Bush assertion that he had ‘saved’ x number of jobs in a month?”