UPDATE: Recovery.gov has a big credibility problem.
The supposed purpose of the site is “to allow taxpayers to see precisely what entities receive [stimulus] money in addition to how and where the money is spent.”
Here’s just some of the blatant discrepancies, via Big Government.
Phantom Congressional Districts.
Picking up on a story from ABC News about stimulus jobs created in phantom congressional districts, I found jobs/awards reported for the following Illinois “districts”: 0, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 28th, 33rd, 34th, 42nd, 44th, 53rd, and 59th. Or as Stephen Colbert would say, “the fightin’ 59th.” Too bad Colbert couldn’t “better know these districts,” because they don’t exist. Notes the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “the federal government is attributing about $6.5 million in stimulus spending to non-existent congressional districts in Illinois.”
Recovery.gov touts state-by-state totals for jobs “created or saved.” Some of the counts are little more than guesses. For example, the Illinois Institute of Technology was awarded $97,900 to “purchase a high performance computer cluster” and related software. One job was counted created/saved; the related entry surmised: “I think the vendor of the computer equipment can retain about one job for this amount of purchase.” That’s totally unsubstantiated. Still, it was added to Illinois’s statewide jobs tally.
For some projects, the descriptive “job creation” information does not match the numerical “number of jobs” entry. One entry for Head Start in Illinois noted they would use $169,279 to “hire 2 additional staff and increase compensation of staff through a COLA to improve overall quality of program.” Yet under “number of jobs” they listed 63.65 positions, which counted toward the statewide jobs total.
Misallocation of Job Counts.
Recovery.gov breaks down the jobs created/saved by the stimulus by congressional district. For Illinois, the vast majority of jobs were supposedly created/saved in the 18th congressional district. With 16,996 jobs created/saved in the 18th district (the next largest jobs total is 3,444 in the 7th district). A closer look at the details shows that 14,233 of those central Illinois jobs came from the Illinois State Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, which is located in state capital of Springfield. The State Office counted education jobs saved across the state, yet all were allocated to the 18th district. If the designers of Recovery.gov hope to sway future congressional votes with the district-by-district job numbers, they’re need to present credible information.
Where are the Private Sector Jobs?
You’ll remember that back in January 2009 ….Obama promised that 90 percent of the jobs saved or created by the stimulus would be in the private sector. So far, that’s not the case. If the 90 percent promise held up, 22,003 of the 24,448 Illinois jobs would be in the private sector. But looking at the data, the big job saver is a government entity, otherwise known as “Illinois, State of.” Some 14,233 jobs were saved in public education. The “Chicago Transit Authority” is another big job saver and/or creator, accounting for 2,071 jobs. Seen in this light, the stimulus was more of a state and local government bailout than a private-sector engine starter.
Over 75,000 bogus jobs.
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.”
The map reflects reports from The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, the Sacramento Bee, The New York Times, USA Today, the Las Vegas Sun, the Detroit Free Press, the New York Post, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Associated Press, the Chicago Tribune, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It remains a work in progress because relatively few newspapers have scrutinized stimulus spending so far.
The Obama administration has claimed that the $787 billion economic stimulus package “saved or created” some 650,000 jobs. But almost as soon as the White House trotted out this figure, news organizations found huge exaggerations in the reported data. Many of the jobs reportedly created do not exist or cannot be accounted for.
UPDATE: Today’s report from ABC News tells us that prior to releasing its jobs report, the administration cut out 60,000 additional jobs from unreliable reports, none of which appear to overlap with the ones we’ve highlighted here. Had those jobs been included in the original count, the number of jobs “created or saved” by the stimulus would have exceeded 700,000, and the number of imaginary or doubtful jobs would have approached 20 percent.
More from John Stossel:
There is no new wealth created. All the stimulus did was shift resources to stimulus recipients, at a hidden cost. That money would have been spent or invested privately by other people if it hadn’t been taxed away. It’s Bastiat’s broken window fallacy in a nutshell.
It’s not just the fabricated numbers, it’s the fake jobs that got “created”.
Here’s just a few:
Sacramento Bee: The California State University system received $268.5 million in stimulus funds and claimed that the money allowed them to save over 26,000 jobs. But when pressed, the University officials admitted they weren’t really going to lay off half their workforce, and that in fact, few or none of these jobs would have been lost without the stimulus. “This is not really a real number of people,” a CSU spokesman said. “It’s like a budget number.”
The New York Times: A $1,000 grant to purchase a single lawn mower [in Arkansas] was credited with saving 50 jobs.
Tacoma News-Tribune: Of the 34,500 jobs allegedly saved or created by the stimulus in Washington State, 24,000 belong to state teachers already under contract to finish out the school year, whose jobs were never in jeopardy ….
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: A joint venture [in Oklahoma] that received six military contracts counted the same 10 jobs six times.
Chicago Tribune: [S]timulus funds were said to have saved the equivalent of 382 full-time teaching jobs — 142 more than the [Dolton, Ill.] district actually has.
Chicago Tribune: The city claimed to have saved the jobs of 473 teachers with its $4.7 million education stimulus grant. The [North Chicago] district employs only 290 teachers.
Greenville News: “The Greenville Housing Authority ‘saved or created’ 118 jobs by use of federal stimulus money, according to the Obama administration. The agency only has 35 employees.”
The Wall Street Journal: “A shoe store owner claimed he created nine jobs on a $889.60 contract.
In fact, he supplied nine pairs of shoes to the Army Corps of Engineers.”
To make things even more interesting, there were a few non-existant Congressional districts thrown in the mix.
$6.7 billion in stimulus money went to non-existent congressional districts.
If the stimulus turned out so great, Obama wouldn’t feel the need to pad the numbers or fictionalize the recipients.
The White House scrambled to put a spin on the report, saying that the news outlets “looked only at the earlier data posted, representing just 2 percent of Recovery Act spending. The data errors cited … are not significant to the total job count… that will be posted on Friday.”
Yeah, I can hardly wait to see those numbers.
Here’s where some more of that “stimulus” money went:
– $300,000 for a GPS-equipped helicopter to hunt for radioactive rabbit droppings at the Hanford nuclear reservation in Washington state.
– $30 million for a spring training baseball complex for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies.
– $11 million for Microsoft to build a bridge connecting its two headquarter campuses in Redmond, Wash., which are separated by a highway.
– $430,000 to repair a bridge in Iowa County, Wis., that carries 10 or fewer cars per day.
– $800,000 for the John Murtha Airport in Johnstown, Pa., serving about 20 passengers per day, to build a backup runway.
– $219,000 for Syracuse University to study the sex lives of freshmen women.
– $2.3 million for the U.S. Forest Service to rear large numbers of arthropods, including the Asian longhorned beetle, the nun moth and the woolly adelgid.
– $3.4 million for a 13-foot tunnel for turtles and other wildlife attempting to cross U.S. 27 in Lake Jackson, Fla.
– $1.15 million to install a guardrail for a persistently dry lake bed in Guymon, Okla.
– $9.38 million to renovate a century-old train depot in Lancaster County, Pa., that has not been used for three decades.
– $2.5 million in stimulus checks sent to the deceased.
– $6 million for a snow-making facility in Duluth, Minn.
– $173,834 to weatherize eight pickup trucks in Madison County, Ill.
– $20,000 for a fish sperm freezer at the Gavins Point National Fish Hatchery in South Dakota.
– $380,000 to spay and neuter pets in Wichita, Kan.
– $300 apiece for thousands of signs at road construction sites across the country announcing that the projects are funded by stimulus money.
– $1.5 million for a fence to block would-be jumpers from leaping off the All-American Bridge in Akron, Ohio.
– $1 million to study the health effects of environmentally friendly public housing on 300 people in Chicago.
– $356,000 for Indiana University to study childhood comprehension of foreign accents compared with native speech.
– $983,952 for street beautification in Ann Arbor, Mich., including decorative lighting, trees, benches and bike paths.
– $148,438 for Washington State University to analyze the use of marijuana in conjunction with medications like morphine.
– $462,000 to purchase 22 concrete toilets for use in the Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri
– $3.1 million to transform a canal barge into a floating museum that will travel the Erie Canal in New York state.
– $1.3 million on government arts jobs in Maine, including $30,000 for basket makers, $20,000 for storytelling and $12,500 for a music festival.
– $71,000 for a hybrid car to be used by student drivers in Colchester, Vt., as well as a plug-in hybrid for town workers decked out with a sign touting the vehicle’s energy efficiency.
– $1 million for Portland, Ore., to replace 100 aging bike lockers and build a garage that would house 250 bicycles
I want to know who I can talk to in D.C. to obtain some of those millions of “stimulus” dollars.