From The Hill, on last night’s Charlie Rose appearance by VP Joe Biden:
The Obama administration’s signature stimulus program has been an “absolute success” so far, Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday.
Biden, who heads up the administration’s effort to implement the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), said the legislation will have saved or created between 3 and 3.5 million jobs before the end of 2010.
An absolute success,” Biden termed the stimulus during an interview on “Charlie Rose” to air Wednesday evening. “We will create over 3.5 million or save over 3.5 million jobs before this is over.”
A few things to note:
1) Let me start by saving some work for the folks at Media Matters but Truth Doesn’t. As long as Biden does not claim that the stimulus has “created or saved” more than 139.4 million jobs — the number of jobs in the United States — you cannot prove that he is lying. So ha!
2) Even if you believe Biden’s estimates of potential job creation, the stimulus would be costing $246,000 per job. (When you check my math, bear in mind that the stimulus now costs closer to $860 billion.) You could create jobs more cheaply if you just added 3.5 million new members to the House of Representatives and held elections in November. (Or if you just had Jim Messina offer three USAID jobs apiece to 1.2 million people.)
3) A recent Harvard study suggests that stimulus money is not creating net jobs, but instead crowding out private sector investments that would have occurred without the stimulus. Stimulus money is also hiring away employees that private businesses in some places were thinking of hiring, the study says.
4) Jobs are being created by the Census. Temporary jobs. These will account for 425,000 jobs in May’s employment numbers. Do you suppose the Obama administration will use the inflated job numbers to crow about the stimulus’ great success? Answer: Does the White House offer jobs to keep people out of elections?