Monday, November 16, 2009

Over a 10% error rate: Obama administration bookkeeping

I knew that eventually some journalist would start putting together a list of all the reports of phony "saved or created" stimulus jobs so that the public could get an idea of exactly how many bogus jobs were reported in the administration's claim. And now, the Washington Examiner has just what we need - an interactive map linked to news analyses done mostly by local journalists into the claims for their particular region.
More than ten percent of the jobs the Obama administration has claimed were "created or saved" by the $787 billion stimulus package are doubtful or imaginary, according to reports compiled from eleven major newspapers and the Associated Press.

Based only on our analysis of stimulus media coverage in the last two weeks, The Examiner has created this interactive map to document exaggerated stimulus claims. The map, which will be updated as new revelations appear, currently reflects an exaggeration by the Obama administration of about 75,000 jobs, out of the 640,000 jobs supposedly "created or saved."
And they're just getting started. Check back later and see how the number falls with more updates as other journalists get in on the fun.

A larger than a 10% error rate is not confidence inducing for the government's ability to keep track of any sort of economic data related to the stimulus. Their record keeping seems to be as big a mess as the stimulus bill was in the first place.

UPDATE: Here's a cute error that ABC found.
Here's a stimulus success story: In Arizona's 9th Congressional District, 30 jobs have been saved or created with just $761,420 in federal stimulus spending. At least that's what the website set up by the Obama Administration to track the $787 billion stimulus says.

There's one problem, though: There is no 9th Congressional District in Arizona; the state has only eight Congressional Districts.

There's no 86th Congressional District in Arizona either, but the government's Web site says $34 million in stimulus money has been spent there.

In fact, lists hundreds of millions spent and hundreds of jobs created in Congressional districts that don't exist.

In Oklahoma, for example, the site lists more than $19 million in spending -- and 15 jobs created -- on Congressional districts that don't exist. In Iowa, it shows $10.6 million spent  and 39 jobs created -- in non-existent districts.

In Connecticut's 42nd District (which also does not exist), the website claims 25 jobs created with zero stimulus dollars.

The list of spending and job creation in fictional Congressional Districts extends to U.S. territories as well.

$68.3 million spent and 72.2 million spent in the 1st Congressional District of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

$8.4 million spent and 40.3 jobs created in the 99th Congressional District of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

$1.5 million spent and .3 jobs created in the 69th district and $35 million for 142 jobs in the 99th district of the Northern Mariana Islands.

$47.7 million spent and 291 jobs created in Puerto Rico's 99th Congressional District.
Close enough for government work.

Aren't you excited about putting these guys in charge of everyone's health care?


ic said...

Good grief, it sounds so much like Maoist China, with all those exaggerations, grafts and corruptions.

kimsch said...

What with at least 99 Congressional Districts in the US Virgin Islands and 99 in the Northern Mariana Islands, and 99 in Puerto Rico, there are only 138 in the rest of the US combined!

equitus said...

If this had happened under Bush, you'd be hearing incessant screaming for criminal investigations.

Of course, we'll hear no such claims now that the Dems are in power. Classic double-standard.

tfhr said...

Well we know the jobs are bogus but what about that money? Where did the money go? Surely Charlie Rangel could not have stolen it all. The administration needs to show where every last dime associated with these faux districts ended up and they need to show us who handled the money?

The Republicans need to launch a GAO audit or they are just part of the problem.

Pat Patterson said...

Consider the source I suspect that the people defending these numbers will argue that at least they are trying. Somewhat similar to sending your kid to camp for self-esteem where he'll get a ribbon for trying hard and still coming in last or getting lost.

Freeven said...

The Republicans need to launch a GAO audit or they are just part of the problem.

The Reps are part of the problem. We still haven't had an accounting of where the money from the original TARP funding went, and never will. That happened under Bush.

I was about to say the federal government is a sham, where money and power is passed around to those with political power, but it's not really a sham, since so much of it happens right out in the open. It doesn't matter who is in power anymore. Things won't improve unless we take their power away. The more limited the government is, the less there is to corrupt and the less that corruption will matter.

tfhr said...


Start with TERM LIMITS!

Freeven said...

I doubt term limits would make much difference. It really doesn't matter who we send or how long they're there until we get over this notion that a small group of politicians can competently manage the affairs of 300 million people. Most of these people are well meaning, but we're asking them to do the impossible. Until we take back the power from Washington we should only expect things to get worse.

tfhr said...


It really does matter who we send and how long they are there.

We repeatedly send people that make a mockery of public service and many stay long enough to amass unyielding obligations to special interests while living a life well clear of the consequences of their "legislative efforts".

If you think TERM LIMITS don't matter then think of the disproportionate impact that a Robert Byrd or Charlie Rangel can have after decades of corrupt incumbency places them atop the seniority ladder.

TERM LIMITS surely isn't enough - we can agree on that - but it is a good place to start and the candidate that expresses that same view is the type of person that does not seek to become another corrupt fixture perpetuating a broken and abused Congress.

I agree with you that a small group of politicians CANNOT competently manage the affairs of millions of Americans. I don't want them to try. I'll manage my own affairs while they stick to the responsibilities obligated to them by The Constitution. Of course I'd like to see an amendment to The Constitution limiting consecutive Congressional terms, just as we've had one added regarding Presidents, but you already knew that.

Pat Patterson said...

Aside from many of the officers in the Army and the Marine Corps I've worked with the other group that are exceedingly intelligent are businessmen. I always wonder when the better sort of people that go into government work will realize that whatever they do to make business "fair" there are a lot of much smarter people figuring out ways around these changes.

And the disadvantage that the government has, aside from a shallow gene pool, is that it's much easier to acquire wealth but redistributing it can ultimately only be successfully accomplished through force.

tfhr said...

Pat Patterson,

Deceit is a popular method when Congressmen, and the like, don't have to resort to force. Murtha is a prime example but then that brings up the sad fact that he is former military.

Bottom line: Integrity is either there or it isn't and we don't see nearly enough of it in our political class. The fact that we have what amounts to a political class is THE problem but I have to stop now before I engage in a vicious, broad sweeping attack on the lawyers that have moved their practice to Capitol Hill.

Pat Patterson said...

I used a broad definition of force that I hoped would be seen as the power of the state to coerce money from one group to another through legislation. Which in most countries of the world is actually merely the tip of the spear.

It's like the rhetorical guestion rephrased to ask how to make a pencil. But who can make that pencil.