The Closet Moderate: 100 jobs saved in East Dakota's 10th district!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

100 jobs saved in East Dakota's 10th district!

Recovery.gov, your clearing house for made up statistics, has been listing thousands of jobs saved in places that do not exist. I know the conspiracy-minded among you will instantly leap to the facile conclusion that the government has secret Congressional districts it is hiding from us. Some others of you may believe the government was just making up jobs data and wasn't even smart enough to consult Wikipedia when fabricating their data. The truth is more subtle, but still disappointing.

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To start with, let's consider the explanation for this balls-up. As the ABC News article says,
"We report what the recipients submit to us," said Ed Pound, Communications Director for the Board. Pound told ABC News the board receives declarations from the recipients - state governments, federal agencies and universities - of stimulus money about what program is being funded.
Pound, who also serves as Tsar of Irrational and Transcendental Numbers, gives us a hint at the rigorous methodology behind the administration's ciphering. They ask people how many jobs they've "saved," add up the total, and pass it on to us as being straight from the hand of God Obama.

Consider what other government agency is so trusting. Does the IRS take your word for it at tax time? Does airport security let you through unsearched if you promise you're no terrorist? Does the EPA let you go on your merry way if you pinky swear that pollution isn't from your factory? Of course not. Leviathan doesn't take your word for shit.

All of these "saved" jobs numbers (a dubious prospect in itself) are based on the say-so of people who have just been handed a big sack of government money. What do you expect they will say, that it didn't work? They're not likely to get more Sacajaweas that way.

The flaw in this methodology cannot have been hidden from the administration's senses. Obama may be a naïf in foreign policy, but the people who run his domestic bureaucracies know a whopper when they hear one. And when they heard that we've spent $1.5 million to create 1/3 of a job in the 69th district of the northern Mariana Islands, they should've smelled a rat. Passing on information you know to be false may not be as bad as making it up, but it's not the Hope sandwich we were told to expect.

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