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Old 11-05-2009, 08:02 AM   #1
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Default Obama Math...

Again, could you IMAGINE if this happened under Bush?

1 million jobs created (cough bullshit cough)....but 160 billion spent to create those jobs, so we spent $160,000 PER job!?!?!?!?!?!

$43,000 per house sold?

THIS is why you don't let the government run things.


MIAMI: We used to hear quite a bit about the Bush administration's supposed "war on science."

What about the Obama administration's war on mathematics?

Every time somebody tries to test the logic of the president's economic policy using actual numbers, the White House starts screaming about space aliens.
You think I'm exaggerating? When the automotive consumer researcher Edmunds.com released an economic study last week concluding that the government's cash-for-clunkers giveaway cost taxpayers $24,000 per vehicle sold, the White House accused Edmunds of relying on statistics ''covering car sales on Mars.'' (Who says we don't get bang for our NASA buck?)

The Edmunds study compared historical auto sales trends with sales figures during the recession to conclude that the $3 billion cash-for-clunkers program generated only 125,000 sales that wouldn't have occurred anyway.(not too toot my own whistle, but that was my original estimated guess) The Obama administration rebuttal didn't include a single number, just some hopeful rhetoric about (conveniently unmeasureable) ''excitement'' generated by cash-for-clunkers.
But even that response was a paragon of math wizardry compared to what the White House had to say when ABC reporter Jake Tapper asked about the cost of the jobs the Obama administration claims to have created with its stimulus programs.

This one started when the White House last week issued a report saying that it created or ''saved'' 640,000 jobs (economists say there's no way to measure the latter, but never mind), then immediately contradicted itself and said the real number was probably more like 1 million.

Tapper, using the more generous figure, divided the 1 million jobs into the $160 billion allocated by Sept. 30, then asked what seems like a reasonable question:
''Does that mean the stimulus costs taxpayers $160,000 per job?''

An outraged Jared Bernstein, chief economist and senior economic advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, promptly accused the reporter of ''calculator abuse.'' Janet Reno is no longer attorney general, so that may not be a jailable offense, but it seems certain that Tapper can expect to have all his calculators seized and placed in foster homes.

In case you're wondering where Tapper went wrong, the Obama administration has not repealed the arithmetical rules of division. (Yet.) Bernstein merely said that the reporter should have included all the jobs the White House hopes to have created or saved by the end of next year.

The White House didn't even respond to the other interesting bit of stimulus math that was revealed last week. The National Association of Realtors, lobbying fiercely for a renewal of Obama's $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers, said around 1.9 million will receive it this year — and 350,000 of those buyers couldn't have bought a home without it.

Ahem, said the respected economics blog CalculatedRisk.com. Multiplying 1.9 million tax credits by $8,000 equals $15 billion in government subsidies. Divide that by the 350,000 sales generated by the tax credit and it turns out the Obama administration is paying $43,000 per house to stimulate sales.
And for what? The vast majority of these homes have already been built. Their sale won't put anybody to work.

The only addition they'll make to the U.S. work force will be the additional auditors the IRS will have to employ to check the paperwork when the buyers ask for the tax credit on their returns this spring.

That's why the Obama White House has declared war on math: Because it's a nettlesome reminder of how balky, inefficient and generally useless its various stimulus programs have been. For the $24,000-per-vehicle cost of the cash-for-clunkers program, the government could have presented every single one of those new buyers with a brand new Smart Car plus two years' worth of gasoline to run it. For that matter, why not just draw the names of 125,000 random Americans out of a hat and give each one a check for $24,000?

The answer is that the American economy is not the real target of the stimulus; the American government is. How many new inspectors and bookkeepers and red-tape-sniffers of all types did the U.S. Department of Transportation add to implement the cash for clunkers program?

How many otherwise unemployable policy wonks have been surgically attached to the open veins of taxpayers to help the government administer its new stakes in the banking and automotive industries?

How many economic planners do we have in Washington these days applying their social-engineering skills to make sure we spend our money in ways that benefit the government's favored beneficiaries? ''Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas,'' Albert Einstein once said.

Obamamath, on the other hand, is the poetry of pork.
Garvin is a Miami Herald columnist. He can be e-mailed at ggarvin@miamiherald.com.
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Old 11-05-2009, 08:14 AM   #2
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Default Re: Obama Math...

A lot of those jobs were counted 3-5 times, so the math gets even fuzzier.
Double or triple the price or more for those jobs.

AP IMPACT: Stimulus jobs overstated by thousands

WASHINGTON — A Colorado company said it created 4,231 jobs with the help of President Barack Obama's economic recovery plan. The real number: fewer than 1,000.

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

Elsewhere in the U.S., some jobs credited to the stimulus program were counted two, three, four or even more times.

The government has overstated by thousands the number of jobs it has created or saved with federal contracts under the president's $787 billion recovery program, according to an Associated Press review of data released in the program's first progress report.

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.

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.

But the 30,000 figure is overstated by thousands — at the very least by nearly 5,000, or one in six, based on AP's limited review of some of the contracts — because some federal agencies and recipients of the money provided incorrect job counts. The review found some counts were more than 10 times as high as the actual number of jobs; some jobs were credited to stimulus spending when, in fact, none were produced.

The White House says it is aware there are problems. In an interview, Ed DeSeve, an Obama adviser helping to oversee the stimulus program, said agencies have been working with businesses that received the money to correct mistakes. Other errors discovered by the public also will be corrected, he said.

"If there's an error that was made, let's get it fixed," DeSeve said.

Within minutes of the publication of AP's story, the White House released a statement that it said was the "real facts" about how jobs were counted in the stimulus data distributed two weeks ago. It said that had been a test run of a small subset of data that had been subjected only to three days of reviews, that it had already corrected "virtually all" the mistakes identified by the AP and that the discovery of mistakes "does not provide a statistically significant indication of the quality of the full reporting that will come on Friday."

The data partially reviewed by the AP for errors included all the data presently available, representing all known federal contracts awarded to businesses under the stimulus program. The figures being released Friday include different categories of stimulus spending by state governments, housing authorities, nonprofit groups and other organizations.

As of early Thursday, on its recovery.org Web site, the government was still citing 30,383 as the actual number of jobs linked so far to stimulus spending, despite the mistakes the White House has now acknowledged and said were being corrected.

There's no evidence the White House sought to inflate job numbers in the report, but the administration embraced the flawed figures the moment they were released.

The figures released earlier this month claimed jobs linked to roughly $16 billion in federal contracts, an initial report on a small fraction of the total stimulus program. DeSeve said federal officials had only a few days to go through the data for errors before they were made public.

It's not clear just how far off the 30,000 claim was. The AP's review, which was not an exhaustive accounting of all 9,000 contracts reported by the government so far, homed in on the most obvious cases of jobs wrongly tied to the stimulus because of duplications or misinterpretations of how the jobs should be counted.

While the thousands of overstated jobs represent a tiny sliver of the overall economy, they represent a significant percentage of the initial employment count credited to the stimulus program.

Administration officials say they are trying to head off such problems before the new figures are released Friday.

"Part of this is, it's an unprecedented effort," said Tom Gavin, a spokesman for the White House budget office. "It's as new to recipients who have to do it as it is to the American people who are able to view this data for the first time."

Some businesses actually undercounted jobs funded with stimulus money, the AP's review shows, because they reported only new jobs created, not existing jobs saved. But by far the most reporting errors were found in the number of jobs credited to the stimulus.

"I'm not trying to say one balances out the other," DeSeve said. "We don't like either of them."

In one major miscount found by the AP review, Colorado-based Teletech Government Solutions had worked with the Federal Communications Commission to come up with a job count for its $28.3 million contract for call centers fielding consumer questions about conversion of televisions to receive digital signals. The company reported creating 4,231 jobs — the highest number listed in the first stimulus accounting — even though 3,000 of those workers received a paycheck for five weeks or less.

"We all felt it was an appropriate way to represent the data at the time," company president Mariano Tan said.

Now the job count is being adjusted to less than 1,000, Tan said, to meet the requirement that a job reported is equal to a full-time, 40-hour-a-week position held for one year.

The Toledo, Ohio-based Koring Group also received two FCC contracts to help people make the switch to digital television. The company reported hiring 26 people for each of the two contracts, bringing its total jobs to 54 on the government's official count.

But the company cited the same 26 workers for both contracts, meaning the same jobs were counted twice. The job count was further inflated because each job lasted only about two months, so each worker should have counted as one-sixth of a full-time job.

The FCC spotted the problem and called company owner Steve Holland, who now says the actual job 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."

The AP's review identified nearly 600 contracts claiming stimulus money for more than 2,700 jobs that appear to have similar duplicated counts.

DeSeve said he's pleased that the FCC and other agencies are working with businesses to fix the errors.

Barbara Moore, executive director of the Child Care Association of Brevard County in Cocoa, Fla., reported that the $98,669 she received in stimulus money saved 129 jobs at her center, though the cash was used to give her 129 employees a 3.9 percent cost-of-living raise. She said she needed to boost their salaries because some workers had left for better paying jobs.

"They were leaving because we had not been able to give them a raise in four years," Moore said.

Officials at East Central Technical College in Douglas, Ga., said they now know they shouldn't have claimed 280 stimulus jobs linked to more than $200,000 to buy three semi-trucks and trailers for commercial driving instruction, and a modular classroom and bathroom for a health education program.

"It was an error on someone's part," said Mike Light, spokesman for the Technical College System of Georgia.

The number of jobs should be zero, Light said. The 280 count represents the number of students who would benefit, he said.

The San Joaquin, Calif., Regional Rail Commission reported creating or saving 125 jobs as part of a stimulus project to lay railroad track. Because the project drew from two pools of money, the commission reported that figure twice, bringing the total to 250.

Spokesman Thomas Reeves said the commission corrected the data Tuesday and changed the total to 73, although the count is not corrected in the government's official job tally. He said officials incorrectly added some indirect job creation to reach its initial 125 total. He said the number should not have been doubled.

DeSeve said he's confident the job counts in the first report will be corrected and future reports will have fewer errors.

"What we want is the most accurate total available," he said.

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Old 11-05-2009, 08:18 AM   #3
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Default Re: Obama Math...

Paul Krugman is (seriously...no joke) clamoring for more stimulus money to be spent....since the first round did so much good...and he's an ECONOMIST!!!!
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Old 11-05-2009, 08:24 AM   #4
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Default Re: Obama Math...

Originally Posted by MACH1 View Post
A lot of those jobs were counted 3-5 times, so the math gets even fuzzier.
No it doesn't. They're using the same technique they use to count votes in Chicago. You racist!

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Old 11-06-2009, 01:12 AM   #5
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Default Re: Obama Math...

Taxpayer money being wasted? Fudged numbers? Sounds like business as usual in Washington, DC.
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Old 11-06-2009, 01:31 AM   #6
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Default Re: Obama Math...

The $800 Billion Deception

Conservatives claim the stimulus has already failed. But it has barely started.
From the moment it passed, the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—the stimulus bill—has been the subject of controversy. Many critics have deemed it a debacle, since unemployment has continued to rise in the months since its passage. The Republican Party declared the bill a failure over the summer, and House Minority Leader John Boehner recently deemed it a waste: "You can't spend $800 billion of taxpayer money and not create jobs when you say that's what the goal was." At a dinner several weeks ago, I heard a cable news reporter, one whose job is to report numbers accurately, declare that "we've already spent $800 billion and it was a waste." I suppose it's too much to ask political hacks and TV reporters to get the size and timing of the stimulus package right. But I expect better from my colleagues at the Washington Post editorial page, which on Sunday argued against further stimulus measures because they would add to the scary national debt and because "the government still hasn't run through half of the $787 billion in tax cuts and spending increases enacted this year." (Click here to follow Dan Gross)

Some things about the stimulus are indeed complicated. How precisely do you measure the number of jobs "saved" when the federal government cuts checks to states, thus allowing them to avoid budget cuts? But some things about the stimulus are quite simple, including its size and the amount of it that has been spent so far.

To begin with, the stimulus was $787 billion, not $800 billion. (Those of you who think there isn't much of a difference, please make out a check for the difference to Daniel M. Gross.) The more egregious error has to do with the timing. Many critics act as if the entire amount has already been spent. They're completely wrong. Even to argue that it's been half-spent, as the Post, does, is only half-right.
As was planned from the start, in fact, only a small portion of the $787 billion has been spent. The Council of Economic Advisers recently issued a comprehensive report on the impact of the stimulus. "As of the end of August, $151.4 billion of the original $787 billion has been outlaid or has gone to American taxpayers and businesses in the form of tax reductions," the CEA reports. That's 19 percent. If projections made for September expenditures are right, "between one-fifth and one-quarter of the total $787 billion" was spent by the beginning of October.

This is not surprising. The ARRA is divided into six different types of components, from tax cuts to infrastructure investments. Some can be done quickly (cutting and mailing tax rebate checks) while others (building bridges) take longer. "The areas where stimulus has been largest in the first six months are individual tax cuts, state fiscal relief, and aid to those most directly hurt by the recession," the CEA reported. Through the end of August, in fact, tax cuts accounted for $62.6 billion of expenditures, and government investment outlays accounted for only $16.5 billion.

In other words, nearly eight months after its passage, a large majority of the stimulus has yet to start impacting the economy—as was the plan. And as was also the plan, the most visible parts of the stimulus are only taking effect now and will remain active through 2010. As you drive around town, it's difficult to visualize tax rebates or aid to states—the fast-acting components of the stimulus. But as I drive around my town today, I can see workers laboring at a $4 million, stimulus-backed road project that is just getting started and will run through the spring of 2011.

The Obama administration believes the stimulus is working. "There is broad agreement that the ARRA has added between 2 and 3 percentage points to baseline real GDP growth in the second quarter of 2009 and around 3 percentage points in the third quarter," the CEA reports. Given that Macroeconomic Advisers is projecting the economy grew at about a 3 percent clip in the third quarter, it's possible that stimulus activity could have meant the difference between growth and contraction in the just-ended quarter. And far from being out of ammunition, the government still has about 75 percent of the $787 billion Congress appropriated to spend during the next two years. Of course, the debate over whether the stimulus worked will ultimately be settled in 2012—as voters go to the polls and economists crunch the 2011 data. Until then, we should avoid jumping to rash conclusions.
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Old 11-06-2009, 09:23 AM   #7
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Default Re: Obama Math...

Nothing new in that article...other than the fact that only about .12 on the dollar of "stimulus money" is actually being funneled towards actually stimulating anything.

My point is, if we are going to manipulate numbers, let's just go ahead and manipulate numbers...there is no way 650,000 jobs were saved, but as long as we are lying....

Bottom line the spendulus bill was a POS and smelled form the start....remember, even Obama had to hold his nose to sign it, stating it was deeply flawed...
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