Obamateurism of the Day

We’ve noted that the jobs “saved or created” metric from the Obama administration has no rational basis for measurement — which is why the White House kept having to address every report where the numbers reflected fantasy. My personal favorite was the 50-job lawnmower, but we have had no shortage of Porkulus fables. Until now, Obama had promised strict accounting of the impact of his stimulus spending. Now, however, he has a better plan — counting every job funded by Porkulus as a job saved or created, whether the job was at risk or not. Not even the AP is fooled by this change, as its report shows:

The White House has abandoned its controversial method of counting jobs under President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus, making it impossible to track the number of jobs saved or created with the $787 billion in recovery money.

Despite mounting a vigorous defense of its earlier count of more than 640,000 jobs credited to the stimulus, even after numerous errors were identified, the Obama administration now is making it easier to give the stimulus credit for hiring. It’s no longer about counting a job as saved or created; now it’s a matter of counting jobs funded by the stimulus.

That means that any stimulus money used to cover payroll will be included in the jobs credited to the program, including pay raises for existing employees and pay for people who never were in jeopardy of losing their positions.

In other words, Obama has admitted that this isn’t stimulating anything, but instead exists as nothing more than pork for bureaucrats.   Why the retreat?  Because despite all of their “saved or created” rhetoric, the White House couldn’t figure out how to count it up, either:

When The Associated Press first reported flaws in the job counts in October, the White House said errors were being corrected and future counts would provide a full and correct accounting of just how many stimulus jobs were saved or created.

Numbers published later identified more than 640,000 jobs linked to stimulus projects around the country. The White House said the public could have confidence in those new numbers, which officials argued proved the administration was on track to keep Obama’s promise that the stimulus would save or create 3.5 million jobs by the end of this year.

But more errors were found, with tens of thousands of problems documented in corrected counts, from the substantive to the clerical. Republicans have used those flaws to attack what so far is the signature domestic policy approved during Obama’s presidency.

And this wouldn’t be the same without a taste of Orwell to complete it:

The new stimulus job reports will continue to offer details about jobs and projects. But they were never expected to be the public accounting of Obama’s goal to save or create 3.5 million jobs, [OMB spokesperson Tom] Gavin said.

Then why did Obama flog these numbers for that specific purpose all through 2009? For instance, here we have Obama using those very numbers to make a public accounting of Porkulus in November:

And Oceania has never been at war with Eastasia, Winston.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

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