White House Can’t Keep Track of Jobs Saved, Or Lies Told

In an unfortunate choice of articles, MSNBC earlier had a featured set of headlines in their politics section regarding the stimulus package and its effect on the troubled job market.

One article touts the recent White House claim that the stimulus package had saved 2 million jobs.

But the other article explains why a new method of accounting adopted by the White House will make it "impossible to track the number of jobs saved or created with the $787 billion in recovery money."

The screenshot below leads viewers to two very different reports:

The lead headline in the politics section, White House:  Stimulus saved 2 million jobs, brings the reader to a glowing article about a standard claim from the Obama administration that yes, the unemployment rate is at a disastrous level, but it would be so much worse if not for the stimulus package.

The other headline at the bottom, White House changes stimulus job accounting, points out how the administration had to respond to its previous - um, embellishments - on the number of jobs effected by the stimulus package, then points out how the new method would actually inflate those erroneous numbers, and subsequently explains why said method would make accuracy an impossibility.

How's that for muddled transparency?

So why would the White House make such a ridiculous claim about ‘jobs saved' so shortly after the AP proved that their new methods were "no longer about counting a job as saved or created; now it's a matter of counting jobs funded by the stimulus"? 

The short answer is that the administration is wrapped up in such a fantastic level of public deception, that they are no longer capable of keeping track of all of the lies they're telling the American people.

The more detailed answer is that the AP article only reported on the new rules recently because they were slipped into a memorandum to federal agencies about a month ago. 

What, they didn't want to air that on C-SPAN either?

As the AP reports (emphasis mine throughout):

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.

...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.

Bear in mind that this is the White House response to the AP's report on flaws in the job count, published back in October.  The report at that time revealed how the White House stimulus numbers were being inflated.  One such example follows:

A child care center in Florida said it saved 129 jobs with stimulus money. Instead, it gave pay raises to its existing employees.

You would think that being caught red-handed in a numbers shell game would influence team Obama to correct their mistakes.  Instead, they change the rules so that it is now permissible to fudge the numbers.  In other words, an original complaint that job counts were flawed because the administration was counting pay raises as jobs saved was corrected by - allowing pay raises to be counted as jobs saved?!

Says Tom Gavin, spokesman for the White House's Office of Management and Budget, "The new rules are intended to streamline the process."

Using the handy pocket version of the White House to English Dictionary, this phrase translates to, "We've just decided it would be easier to blatantly lie to the American people."

So, armed with a new system that makes it impossible to track jobs saved, the White House announces that, "emergency spending measures last year saved up to 2 million U.S. jobs."

This is a provably false claim, according to the administration's own policies and statements.

What's worse is the following statement from the White House:

In addition ... 640,000 jobs had been saved or created by direct recipients of stimulus money, implying that this estimate may be on the low side.

This is in direct contrast, and a glaring disregard, to the AP article which states that, in regards to the 640,000 number:

... more errors were found, with tens of thousands of problems documented in corrected counts, from the substantive to the clerical.

Can the Obama administration get any more baffling at this point?  They get caught in a lie, essentially admit to it, and then pretend it never happened.

That's change they should be embarrassed by...

Photo Credit:  Ruth Fremson/The New York Times