White House resorting to deception in stimulus stats

It seems the president has a new trick up his sleeve to convince us his bloated “stimulus” packages are solving our economic woes: deception.

ABC News called out the Obama administration the other day when, on the official Recovery.gov Web site, the administration reported “jobs added” in Congressional districts which didn’t even exist.

This is the transparency we were promised? Huge sums of money going to clearly unknown places to create clearly nonexistent jobs? In Oklahoma alone, this Web site tells us $19 million went to parts nonexistent. $11 million in Iowa. $48 million to Puerto Rico. $34 million in Arizona. $140.5 million in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

That is, we think. But as none of the districts mentioned in Oklahoma, Iowa, Arizona, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands seem to exist on any Congressional map, we really have no idea.

This isn’t simply a matter of changing a few numbers on a Web site, a mistyped district there, an extra “4” over there. No, this is a desperate floundering to appear to meet unmet promises.

Even in the real districts, these numbers, this great transparency we’ve been offered, mean nothing. If someone thinks a transaction saved someone a job, it gets counted. Not only is that job hypothetical, it’s also one of those “saved” jobs, not actually new employment created.

There’s talk of yet another stimulus to “create jobs.” Are we supposed to have simply forgotten that creating jobs was the stated purpose of the last stimulus?

The most recent package promised to “create or save” 3.5 million jobs by next year. Even the unbelievable Recovery.gov doesn’t believe that has happened. Moreover, 90 percent of those jobs were supposed to have been created in the private sector. Instead, most of the jobs we’re seeing claimed are in fact public sector jobs, and there have been multiple challenges to the accuracy of those reports.

And as more and more taxpayer money goes to unnecessary and inefficient projects, we are only told that the effort is working, we’re saving jobs and President Barack Obama has us on the right track. He might need a little bit more of your money to get us all the way there, of course.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of this. Real people are struggling to keep their jobs and to make ends meet. Real people and real problems should not be made into political semantics.

On one level, it makes for an entertaining story. Heard the one about my brother-in-law taking one of those stimulus jobs? Yeah, he had to move to Missouri’s 83rd district to take it. It was only after he arrived he found Missouri only had nine.

Yet on every other level this is the sad story, already grown stale in the repeating, of an administration which promises things it cannot deliver and then backs away from responsibility.

Michael Reagan, the elder son of the late President Ronald Reagan, is chairman and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation
(
www.reaganlegacyfoundation.org).

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