Promises, promises. Obviously, it was easy for President Obama to make promises about how we would be able to see how stimulus dollars were spent and how transparent this administration was going to be. Turns out, in practice, the administration and its bureaucrats on the ground in the states are as bad as their predecessors.
Here are three stories that add to the pile of evidence about how totally unreliable the job “created or saved” data on Recovery.gov is.
First, this article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on overreporting of jobs number in Wisconsin:
A stimulus job report that says more than 10,000 jobs were saved or created in Wisconsin is rife with errors, double counting and inflated numbers based more on satisfying federal formulas than creating real jobs, a Journal Sentinel review has found.
In one case, five jobs were mistakenly listed as 50 – and then counted twice. In another, pay raises to workers were listed as saving more than 100 jobs. And in another, jobs were listed as saved even though the money had not been received and no work on the project had begun.
And this Boston.com story about how much of the stimulus funds are used on pay raises to bureaucrats rather than new jobs, and yet are counted as new jobs:
A review of the latest stimulus reports – which the White House promised would undergo extensive reviews to ensure accuracy – found that more than two-thirds of 14,506 jobs credited to the recovery act by Head Start programs involved pay increases.
Health and Human Services spokesman Luis Rosero defended the practice. “If I give you a raise, it is going to save a portion of your job,’’ he said.
Finally, here is the New York Times, of all places, looking at some of the flaws in reporting on Recovery Act job creation, and notes that “a report on the government’s stimulus Web site improbably claims that that single lawn mower sale helped save or create 50 jobs,” while at the same time, Chrysler, which “got a $52.9 million stimulus order for new cars for the government,” claimed the money “did not save a single job.”
The Times says reports released last week “from more than 130,000 recipients of stimulus money in which they claimed to have saved or created more than 640,000 jobs” are in some cases “simply wrong, while others contain apparently subjective estimates.”
Basically, the newspaper admits that maybe the administration can’t really calculate the number of jobs saved or created with the stimulus money.
Are you listening, Paul Krugman?