The Media Fall for Phony 'Jobs' Claims
06/09/09 - Online.WSJ by William McGurn
The Obama Numbers Are Pure Fiction.
[edited] "Saved or created" has become Barack Obama's signature phrase. Obama declared yesterday that the stimulus had already saved or created 150,000 American jobs.
He announced faster stimulus spending so he could "save or create" an additional 600,000 jobs this summer. Obama promised earlier that his recovery plan would "save or create three to four million jobs over the next two years."
Tony Fratto was a senior member of the Bush administration communications office. He sees a double standard at play.We would never have used a formula like "save or create". To begin with, the number is pure fiction. The administration has no way to measure how many jobs are actually being 'saved.' If we had tried to use something this flimsy, the press would never have let us get away with it.
The inability to measure Mr. Obama's jobs formula is part of its attraction. Never mind that no one actually measures "jobs saved". Neither the Labor Department, the Treasury, nor the Bureau of Labor Statistics does it. The New York Times delicately reports that Mr. Obama's jobs claims are "based on macroeconomic estimates, not an actual counting of jobs." Nice work if you can get away with it.
Harvard economist and former Bush economic adviser Greg Mankiw writes:The expression "save or create" is political genius. You can measure how many jobs are created between two points in time. There is no way to measure how many jobs are saved. Even if things get much worse, the President can say that there would have been 4 million fewer jobs without the stimulus.