Saturday, November 7, 2009

Evil Alien Invaders

It appears that this graph will be a regular feature in the WSJ every month the day after the unemployment numbers come out. The White House must be shocked and deeply disappointed that their projections were off by so much, especially since the "stimulus" package has "created" or "saved" 640,000 jobs. As to the accuracy of that number, Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard shares these factoids.

More than $4.7 million in federal stimulus aid so far has been funneled to schools in North Chicago, and state and federal officials say that money has saved the jobs of 473 teachers.
Problem is, the district employs only 290 teachers.
In the official report, Wilmette Public Schools District 39 was credited with 166 jobs saved by stimulus aid. Superintendent Raymond Lechner said the number should be zero.
At Dolton-Riverdale School District 148, stimulus funds were said to have saved the equivalent of 382 full-time teaching jobs -- 142 more than the district actually has.
A similar discrepancy was found in data for Kankakee School District 111, where the stimulus report logged the equivalent of 665 full-time jobs saved. "That's impossible," a top Kankakee school official said, adding that the entire payroll -- full and part time -- is 600 workers.

Some of the mistakes, however, might point in the other direction. According to the government tally, here were no jobs "saved or created" in Chicago public schools, something that seems unlikely after the district received $293 million in stimulus funding. But, as many experts predicted in advance, most of the money went to the state for help on budget shortfalls.
It appears the state treasury -- not students or school districts -- was the prime beneficiary of the education stimulus jackpot in Illinois. In great measure, funds simply were used to replace general aid payments already owed to local districts by the state. That gave Gov. Pat Quinn breathing room in his struggle to rein in a whopping two-year budget deficit of more than $10 billion.

A stimulus job report that says more than 10,000 jobs were saved or created in Wisconsin is rife with errors, double counting and inflated numbers based more on satisfying federal formulas than creating real jobs, a Journal Sentinel review has found.
In one case, five jobs were mistakenly listed as 50 - and then counted twice. In another, pay raises to workers were listed as saving more than 100 jobs. And in another, jobs were listed as saved even though the money had not been received and no work on the project had begun.
The problems mirror those surfacing around the country, as the federal numbers claiming 640,000 jobs created or saved by stimulus money are being scrutinized.

Among the Journal Sentinel's findings:

Double-counted jobs: About $7.3 million of federal money will flow to the Parkland Sanitary District in Douglas County to replace its sewer system, a project listed as creating or saving 100 jobs even though work won't start until this spring, federal recovery data shows.

But that number is inflated by 95 jobs, Parkland Sanitary District treasurer Eric Shaffer admitted.

When reporting to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's online reporting system, Schaffer meant to type "5" but mistakenly added a zero - and that 50-job figure appears twice in the federal data because it was a combined grant and loan. He tried to correct the error, but was told it was too late for the federal reporting deadline.

I think it's safe to assume that any estimate, projection, or other statistical "report" released by the Obama administration has little or no basis in reality. That includes, but is far from confined to, budget deficits, the national debt, and the cost of the health care bill.
As for the overall economy, things are going to get worse. We're about to get hit with the biggest tax increase in history as the 2003 Bush tax cuts expire. On top of that, businesses are going to be punished for hiring workers to help pay for the multi trillion dollar health care monstrosity making its way through Congress. Potential investors and entrepreneurs will have their capital depleted to fund that bill. On top of that, we're going to get hit with higher energy expenses to pay for the execrable cap and tax scheme. And all of that is on top of the 2010 federal budget of $3,550,000,000,000 just to fund the everyday operations of the government. (A 14.5% increase over 2009).
And what is the Democrats' response to their floundering economic strategy? More of the same, of course. There's been an extention of the fraud infested first time home buyers tax credit and yet another extention of unemployment benefits. Incredibly, there's talk of another "stimulus" package. As the WSJ points out, a familiar definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expecting different results.
I don't watch any TV series (with the one exception of "Mad Men") but I understand there's a new science fiction show, "V", which has been likened to the current ongoing situation in Washington. Wikipedia describes "V" as "the arrival to Earth of a technologically advanced alien species who ostensibly come in peace but actually have sinister motives." That sounds about right.

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