The moronic media and Obama's jobs numbers
You really have to try to be this ignorant. Simply examining Obama's claims about jobs "saved or created" as a metric for judging the success or failure of his stimulus bill in a superficial way would immediately lead anyone with half a brain - check that - any brains at all to the conclusion that the administration's claims were based on nonsense.
There is no way anyone will ever be able to prove that one dollar of the stimulus bill "saved" a job. And yet, the press is lapping that idiocy up like a thirsty dog, as the Wall Street Journal points out:
"Saved or created" has become the signature phrase for Barack Obama as he describes what his stimulus is doing for American jobs. His latest invocation came yesterday, when the president declared that the stimulus had already saved or created at least 150,000 American jobs -- and announced he was ramping up some of the stimulus spending so he could "save or create" an additional 600,000 jobs this summer. These numbers come in the context of an earlier Obama promise that his recovery plan will "save or create three to four million jobs over the next two years."
Mr. Fratto [former Bush aide] sees a double standard at play. "We would never have used a formula like 'save or create,'" he tells me. "To begin with, the number is pure fiction -- the administration has no way to measure how many jobs are actually being 'saved.' And if we had tried to use something this flimsy, the press would never have let us get away with it."
Of course, the inability to measure Mr. Obama's jobs formula is part of its attraction. Never mind that no one -- not the Labor Department, not the Treasury, not the Bureau of Labor Statistics -- actually measures "jobs saved." As the New York Times delicately reports, Mr. Obama's jobs claims are "based on macroeconomic estimates, not an actual counting of jobs." Nice work if you can get away with it.
And get away with it he has - and probably will in the future. The incurious press corps are either such economic ignoramuses that they have fallen for the political trick or, just as likely, are so anxious for the president to succeed that they will report anything - even idiotic metrics that a freshman in high school could tell them is nuts - as long as the president gets the credit.
The Journal adds this:
So long as the news continues to repeat the administration's line that the stimulus has already "saved or created" 150,000 jobs over a time period when the U.S. economy suffered an overall job loss 10 times that number, the White House would be insane to give up a formula that allows them to spin job losses into jobs saved.
"You would think that any self-respecting White House press corps would show some of the same skepticism toward President Obama's jobs claims that they did toward President Bush's tax cuts," says Mr. Fratto. "But I'm still waiting."
Please don't use "self respecting" in the same sentence you use "White House press corps."
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky