When the Administration fought to get a $787 billion stimulus package from Congress early last year, it committed itself to using the money to create or save 3.5 million American jobs. The White House claims that it has already rescued 2 million people who would have been out of work without its efforts.
Christina Romer, head of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, said she believes that the stimulus will save 3.5 million by the end of the year, but proof of that number may be impossible to come by, at least based on all the efforts that have been made so far to prove the effectiveness of the stimulus.
The White House recently stopped putting out regular updates of the employment benefits of the stimulus package because it has been impossible to find hard numbers to back up its claims.
There is a chorus of critics who argue no new jobs have been created by government spending. The AP recently released a report which it says shows that infrastructure stimulus has not created a single new job. The Government Accountability Office issued a report finding “significant reporting and processing problems that need to be addressed”have hampered any attempt to prove or disprove White House figures. According to the Heritage Foundation, “Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag issued a little-noticed memo last month ending the “saved or created” metric and instead directing agencies to count only jobs “funded by stimulus dollars.”
There is no reason to believe that job creation can be accurately measured in a period of historic job destruction. Over seven million people have lost jobs since the beginning of the recession and that job loss continues. A large number of people who were looking for jobs have stopped looking which takes them out of the traditional unemployment count.
The Administration’s comments will continue to fall on deaf ears until the economy begins to add a significant number of jobs each month and the unemployment falls well below 10%.
Douglas A. McIntyre