We’ve long criticized the Obama administration measure of jobs “saved or created” by their economic policies as ridiculously ambiguous. That seemed confirmed when the White House announced last month that a million jobs had been “saved or created” by the stimulus package, without any supporting data. This week, the administration finally supplied the data, and the number came to less than 1/30th of their September claim:
The first direct stimulus reports showed that stimulus contracts saved or created just 30,083 jobs, prompting more Republican criticism of the $787 billion package.
The data posted Thursday was the result of the government’s initial attempt at counting actual stimulus jobs. Obama administration officials stressed that data was partial — it represented just $16 billion out of the $339 billion awarded — but they said it exceeded their projections.
“All signs — from private estimates to this fragmentary data — point to the conclusion that the Recovery Act did indeed create or save about 1 million jobs in its first seven months, a much needed lift in a very difficult period for our economy,” said Jared Bernstein, the chief economist for Vice President Joe Biden.
Well, which $16 billion are we talking about? And where did the rest of the $339 billion, almost half of the Porkulus appropriation, go? Why didn’t the administration show that information to make the argument that the other $329 billion had the exact same effect as the $16 billion it highlighted in its initial report?
At the rate shown by this report, this comes to almost $532,000 per job “saved or created”. Extrapolating that over the entirety of the Porkulus spending, the bill would only “save or create” 1.48 million jobs, and that assumes that it actually did “save or create” those jobs in the first place.
Now, let’s assume for the sake of argument that the jobs we “saved or created” pay the national average salary of $50,000 and are permanently saved or created, a very generous assumption consider the kind of temporary hiring that we have seen from this effort. If each of these jobs paid an effective federal income tax rate of 15%, it would take over 70 years for them to pay back the money we spent on Porkulus, and that doesn’t count the interest we will pay on those funds. At a 20% effective tax rate, it would take over 53 years.
And all of that assumes that the program works exactly as the adminstration claims. On that score, I’ll let Ken Spain have the last word:
“Despite numerous promises from Congressional Democrats, there are still 15.1 million Americans out of work,” said Ken Spain, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. “After wasting taxpayer dollars to produce an unimpressive 397 jobs in Michigan, middle-class families are still asking one thing: Where are the jobs?”