Obama on jobs – ‘saved or created’ the new double-speak
The Executive Branch has gotten quite fond of saying their policies have “saved or created” x-number of jobs. Can someone tell me why the media is allowing this to happen? The numbers are pure fiction and the main stream media who’s mostly in love with President Obama is happy to report the data.
It’s kind of like your kid coming home from school and reporting that he got an A in English, and not providing you with any documentation.
That’s great dear.
William McGurn over at the Wall Street Journal has an interesting opinion piece on the saved or created political phenomenon. It’s pure genius – if we and the media let them get away with it – since the Obama administration has created a new standard that guarantees their policies will never be wrong.
If the economy looses another one million jobs next month, the administration can come out the next day patting themselves on the back and report that they saved or created one million jobs.
“Hey, look on the bright side, without our decisive action, the economy would have lost two million jobs… we’re moving in the right direction!”
Remember Obama’s visit to Caterpillar in February? He said that once the stimulus bill was passed, Caterpillar would be able to hire back some of the employees they laid off. Of course, the CEO of Caterpillar said the opposite the next day, implying more layoffs were probably coming.
The Obama administration would tell you without that stimulus package, Caterpillar would have laid off even more people! They can’t prove it, and the CEO of the company does not agree with them, but that doesn’t really matter.
Back to McGurn…
Mr. Obama’s comments yesterday are a perfect illustration of just such a claim. In the months since Congress approved the stimulus, our economy has lost nearly 1.6 million jobs and unemployment has hit 9.4%. Invoke the magic words, however, and — presto! — you have the president claiming he has “saved or created” 150,000 jobs. It all makes for a much nicer spin, and helps you forget this is the same team that only a few months ago promised us that passing the stimulus would prevent unemployment from rising over 8%. …
During a March hearing of the Senate Finance Committee, Chairman Max Baucus challenged Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on the formula.
“You created a situation where you cannot be wrong,” said the Montana Democrat. “If the economy loses two million jobs over the next few years, you can say yes, but it would’ve lost 5.5 million jobs. If we create a million jobs, you can say, well, it would have lost 2.5 million jobs. You’ve given yourself complete leverage where you cannot be wrong, because you can take any scenario and make yourself look correct.”
Now, something’s wrong when the president invokes a formula that makes it impossible for him to be wrong and it goes largely unchallenged. It’s true that almost any government spending will create some jobs and save others. But as Milton Friedman once pointed out, that doesn’t tell you much: The government, after all, can create jobs by hiring people to dig holes and fill them in.