|$278,000 For Every Job “Saved or Created,” And Now Comes the Bill|
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, July 07 2011
This week, we learned that 141 Obama White House aides earn over $100,000 annually. That’s approximately one-third of its entire staff.
The pundit class buzzed and the increasingly impatient voting class burned over that revelation, and understandably so. Amid ongoing economic struggle, it came as agitating news for those outside the privileged federal bureaucratic class.
Compared to some other numbers released by the White House late last week, however, that staff salary data seems like a sweet bargain.
Namely, that each job “saved or created” by Obama’s “stimulus” came at a cost to taxpayers of between $185,000 and $278,000. And even that is a best-case scenario requiring us to accept his administration’s allegations at face value.
That was the gist of the White House’s latest “stimulus” report card, conveniently released on the slow pre-holiday Friday July 1. The White House Council of Economic Advisors periodic report, entitled “Economic Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Seventh Quarterly Report,” contained some pretty bleak numbers.
For starters, the phrase “jobs saved or created” has come to constitute a punch line, even if the Obama Administration hasn’t received the memo. To illustrate, take a look at his Administration’s original January 2009 “stimulus” projection, which boldly predicted jobs to be “created,” as opposed to the more nebulous “saved or created” metric:
“We reach several key preliminary findings: A package in the range that the President-Elect has discussed is expected to create between three and four million jobs by the end of 2010… More than ninety percent of the jobs created are likely to be in the private sector.”
Well, that certainly didn’t work out like they promised. Not only have we not seen nearly that number of jobs created, but the government sector benefitted disproportionately.
Consequently, Obama retreated to employing his “saved or created” talking point after it became clear that his “stimulus” was doing nothing but adding to our nation’s debt while his policies made our cyclical recovery more sluggish. For example, the White House predicted that unemployment would peak at approximately 8% in the middle of 2009 if the “stimulus” passed, and be all the way down to around 6.5% by today. Instead, unemployment climbed from 7.8% the month the “stimulus” was signed to 10.1%, then remained at or above 9% for a post-World War II record 21 consecutive months. Unemployment briefly dipped to 8.8% earlier this year, but has since climbed back to 9.1%.
Faced with that failure, Obama retreated from referring to jobs “created” to jobs “saved or created.” After all, one can objectively demonstrate that his spending failed to create “between three and four million jobs by the end of 2010” as he promised. But his speculative “jobs saved” claim by its very nature cannot be proven or disproven.
This from the man whose entire 2008 candidacy was based on the promise of a new, less cynical form of political leadership?
But let’s take Obama at his word, for the sake of argument.
According to the White House report released last Friday, the massive government spending “stimulus” has saved or created between 2.4 and 3.6 million jobs. Note the Orwellian opening claim of transparency from this infamously Machiavellian White House:
“As part of the unprecedented accountability and transparency provisions included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) is charged with providing to Congress quarterly reports on the effects of the Recovery Act on overall economic activity, and on employment in particular. This is the seventh report and it provides an assessment of the effects of the Act through the first quarter of 2011… CEA estimates that as of the first quarter of 2011, the ARRA has raised employment relative to what it otherwise would have been by between 2.4 and 3.6 million.”
Then comes the kicker. Last Friday’s report calculates that $666.3 billion has been spent so far of the approximately $800 billion total. Dividing that two-thirds of a trillion dollars by the claimed number of jobs saved or created, each job came at a cost of between $185,000 and $278,000.
So even in a best-case scenario, taking Obama’s preposterous claims at face value, taxpayers spent approximately six times the median household income for every single job “saved or created” by Obama’s disastrous “stimulus.”
Which raises another interesting question. Since Obama defines “millionaires and billionaires” as any person or small business earning over $200,000, will he target the jobs allegedly “saved or created” for stump speech demonization and tax increases?
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