AP Reports: Government Overstated Jobs Created by Stimulus by Many Thousands
AP News reported yesterday that a cursory review of government documents has shown that the government overstated job creation figures by many thousands…
Well, transparency sure can be a bitch, don’t you know. After announcing with much fanfare that the administration’s economic stimulus spending had so far created 30,000 jobs, the wind was taken out the Team Obama sails today when AP News reviewed the documents and discovered that the data were embellished… um, embroidered… well, they discovered that the data weren’t true.
The Associated Press reviewed data released in the program’s first progress report and found, among other things that:
- A Florida Child Care center had reported that it had saved 129 jobs with the $98,669 it received in stimulus money, but as is turned out, a better way to describe what actually happened was that the company gave pay raises to its existing employees, who according to the company’s owner were all about to quit as they hadn’t been given a raise in four years, and apparently they collectively thought that now would be a good time to hit the job market.
- Koring Group, of Toledo, Ohio, received two FCC contracts to help people make the switch to digital television. The company reported creating 54 jobs to be added to the government’s official count. The FCC spotted problems with the company’s ciphering and called its owner Steve Holland, who now says… funny story… the actual count is closer to five, not 54. “We’re just trying to be accurate. All of this has happened so fast,” Holland said. “It is a little confusing. We’re new to government contracting.” And, apparently, counting to five, Steve-O.
- The people in charge of Georgia’s East Central Technical College said they now realize that they should not have claimed that they were creating 280 stimulus jobs as a result of receiving more than $200,000 in stimulus spending. Especially when you consider that they used the money to buy three semi-trucks and trailers for commercial driving instruction, and a modular classroom and bathroom for a health education program. According to Mike Light: “It was an error on someone’s part. The number of jobs should be zero.” Apparently, the 280 figure was either the number of students who would benefit, or the average weight of the students enrolled in the truck driving program.
- A Colorado company that received a $28.3 million contract to provide call centers supposedly needed to field questions from consumers confused by the change over to digital television reported creating 4,231 jobs with the help of President Barack Obama’s economic recovery plan. The real number, however, turned out to be under 1,000. How much “under” one thousand? The AP story didn’t specify, but the way things are going in this story I’d say the number could fall anywhere from 999 to maybe 8.
- And in other instances, jobs credited to the stimulus program were counted two, three, four or even more times. How many more times, you ask? AP didn’t specifically say, but probably no more than 5 or 6… I’m so totally sure, aren’t you?
According to the AP story:
“The discrepancy raises questions about the reliability of a key benchmark the administration uses to gauge the success of the stimulus. The errors could be magnified Friday when a much larger round of reports is released. It is expected to show hundreds of thousands of jobs repairing public housing, building schools, repaving highways and keeping teachers on local payrolls.”
Why, I do believe that I would have to agree that it does, in fact, at least potentially raise a question or two. But that’s as far as I’d be willing to go. To go further simply wouldn’t be prudent… not at this juncture.
Also, according to the AP story:
“The White House seized on an initial report from a government oversight board weeks ago that claimed federal contracts awarded to businesses under the recovery plan already had helped pay for more than 30,000 jobs. The administration said the number was evidence that the stimulus program had exceeded early expectations toward reaching the president’s promise of creating or saving 3.5 million jobs by the end of next year.”
Well, now that does create quite the discomfiture for the Obama White House, wouldn’t you have to say? Especially when you stop to consider the sheer volume of Harvard grads involved. I do hope the White House retracted or at least rephrased its previous statement. Perhaps a revision… maybe something along the lines of:
The administration said that jumping at the number without looking at the data was evidence that the administration had no clue how the stimulus program was doing in terms of creating or saving jobs, saying that the President had thought that he’d promised that his plan would conjugate 3.5 million verbs by the end of next year.
I don’t know… they could toss it around.
AP estimates that the 30,000 number was overstated by 5,000 at the very least, apparently “because some federal agencies and recipients of the money provided incorrect job counts.” The AP review, which only reviewed a percentage of the documents, found some counts were “more than 10 times as high as the actual number of jobs.” And some jobs, the AP said, “were credited to stimulus spending when, in fact, none were produced.”
Well, that explains everything right there. Why didn’t they just say that in the beginning? There was counting by federal agencies involved. You can’t blame the Obama administration for that. I mean, look… we elected him to perform miracles and create world peace, but no one ever said anything about teaching federal agencies to count accurately. Let’s be reasonable here.
The AP story reported that The White House responded that it is aware there are problems, but I think what it meant to say was that “NOW it’s aware there are problems,” right? Like, after the AP story ran it became aware there are problems. Before the story ran… not so much.
Ed DeSeve, who must be the Obama administration’s equivalent to the Star Trek officer that always wore the off color shirt and was killed immediately when transporting to the surface of an unknown planet, said that “federal agencies have been working with those that received money to correct mistakes”.
Okay, I’m not entirely sure because I didn’t matriculate at Harvard, but I think Eddie just said that some of the organizations were paid to correct counting mistakes. Well, at least that shows that this administration does take planning seriously, I’ll say that for them.
And, not to be out of line here, but is it still considered a “mistake” if your numbers are off by ten times the correct amount? Someone would have to check the 2009 Edition of the Official Civil Service Handbook of Lapses, Gaffes & Missteps, but I’m thinking anything up to three times the right number is a “Mistake”. Up to six times the right number is an “Error”. And up to nine times the correct answer is an “Oversight,” if you’re a Republican, or an “Inaccuracy,” if you’re a Democrat. But I’m pretty sure that when your number is ten times the accurate total, it’s pushed into the “Bipartisan Blunder” category, because twelve times the right number and above, and it becomes a Federal Fiscal Fabrication, which ends your government career, but does allow you to publish a book, pass “Go,” and collect $4 million.
DeSeve, who obviously felt that he hadn’t yet said enough, was also quoted as saying that the administration only had a few days to review the data before it was released to the public, who in turn only needed an hour or so to find the egregious mistakes. But Ed assured the American people that: “Other errors discovered by the public also will be corrected. If there’s an error that was made, let’s get it fixed.”
Oh, that sounds like a capital idea, Edward… let’s. I like your “can do” attitude. And maybe the administration should hold some sort of contest for members of the public. You know… “Catch the Flawed Federal Funding Figures and win a ride on the Space Shuttle or get laid aboard Air Force One.” Something like that could save us billions, after all. Maybe it could be designed as a Word Search puzzle with a scratch-off bonus prize. If you win you get Ed’s job.
The AP story also made it clear that the administration embraced the flawed figures the moment they were released, but that should hardly come as a surprise when you consider how much this administration adores flawed figures.
DeSeve wrapped up his debut performance by expressing his absolute confidence that the job counts in this first report will be corrected and that future reports will have fewer errors. “What we want is the most accurate total available,” he said.
That’s nice, Ed. And we appreciate that, we really do. Would you like to know some of the things that I want, Ed?
1. I want the hundred grand back that was spent on pay raises for already employed Florida babysitters. Oh, and if they have any questions, just explain that unemployment in Florida is the highest its been in 34 years, according to state officials. So, if they feel undervalued, I’m pretty darn sure that a three line ad on Craig’s list will produce at least 250 candidates for their highly skilled positions, and every one of them will be teary-eyed grateful to be bringing home minimum wage for playing with the cute kiddies all day.
2. I want the morons in Toledo… the ones that cannot count to five… to be banned from receiving any government funding for at least… I know… FIVE YEARS! Besides, how can they hope to help people make the change to digital television when that involves pressing triple digit numbers on the remote?
3. I want the $200,000 back that bought a modular bathroom, whatever the hell that is, and three eighteen-wheelers for a truck driving class. If they want to learn to drive truck, tell them to ask their moms to borrow theirs, like everyone born in the hill towns of West Virginia has been doing for years.
4. And I most definitely want the $28.3 million that the administration was about to piss away on a company offering to staff a call center with a handful of underachievers that will answer questions like: “How do I find the WWF channel?” And: “Does digital mean we get free porn?” In fact, the more I think about it… I want you to get someone on a Greyhound with orders to go fetch our $28.3 million back this instant.
After that… get some low rent version of Elliott Ness to go pick up the flim-flam men that proposed with straight faces that it would cost $28.3 million to do a job that a Web page, a black & white tri-fold brochure, or a quick call to Best Buy would handle just as well, if not much more effectively than Daryl and his other brother Daryl could ever even dream.
Oh, and be sure to tell Barry-O that I said… NICE TRY, but hiring imbeciles to answer stupid questions about how to change the channel on a digital television does not constitute “job creation”. Hell, I know immigrants in this country illegally that would hightail it back to Guadalajara in a New York minute if offered a job like that.
Those are things that I want, Ed. Do you think you can get me any of the things that I want, Ed?
Oh, my dear Lord in heaven. I truly am going to miss this country when it’s gone.