Yesterday, President Obama was in New Hampshire attending yet another “jobs summit,” as if jobs summits and town hall meetings ever created a single job. As Jake Tapper from ABC points out, though, one of the more interesting tidbits came from an off-teleprompter comment made by the president about consensus on the impact of last year’s so-called “stimulus” package.
““Now, if you hear some of the critics, they’ll say, well, the Recovery Act, I don’t know if that’s really worked, because we still have high unemployment,” the president said. “But what they fail to understand is that every economist, from the left and the right, has said, because of the Recovery Act, what we’ve started to see is at least a couple of million jobs that have either been created or would have been lost. The problem is, 7 million jobs were lost during the course of this recession.”
Here’s what Tapper–certainly one of the good guys and very possibly one of the few remaining objective journalists in the mainstream press–had to say about Obama’s comment:
Um, it’s not true that “every economist” has said the Recovery Act has saved or created two million jobs.
What have some of them said?
The chair of his Council of Economic Advisers Christina Romer wrote last month that “The CEA estimates that as of the fourth quarter of 2009, the ARRA has raised employment relative to what it otherwise would have been by 1½ to 2 million.”
In her blog she wrote “approximately 2 million people are employed who otherwise would not be, because of the Act.”
At the end of November, Congressional Budget office Director Douglas Elmendorf wrote that because of the stimulus bill “in the third quarter of calendar year 2009, an additional 600,000 to 1.6 million people were employed in the United States..”
But clearly other economists are much more skeptical, including Dan Mitchell at the libertarian Cato Institute, and J.D. Foster at The Heritage Foundation.
Some economists say the whole notion of counting “saved or created” jobs is impossible. Harvard University labor economist Lawrence Katz told ProPublica that trying to count how many jobs have been saved or created is “a silly exercise.”
And in fact, in December the Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag issued a directive scrapping the whole “saved or created” construct.
When I read this comment from President Obama, the very first thing that flashed through my mind was the global warming debate. Al Gore and his granola-munching disciples will be quick to tout the “scientific consensus” behind the farce that is man-made global warming, even in the face of leaked communications showing that data was scrubbed and hidden in order to further the agenda, and even in the face of dissent growing louder by the day.
This comment in New Hampshire was off-the-script. Tapper has what the president was supposed to say at the link above. But in going off script and saying what he did, Obama made his true feelings known. While the news a few days from now when adjusted unemployment numbers are released will likely be anything but positive and will likely show that things were worse than advertised, should unemployment numbers wane over the course of the year, expect Democrats to adopt an attitude not unlike the “scientific consensus” attitude they’ve used in the global warming debate.
If they go back to their states and their constituencies and tell people enough that there is consensus among economists, the Democrats believe that the people will believe it, and that the monumental failure which was the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will be tempered a bit before the election in November. I don’t think it will work — then again, when has practicality ever entered into the mind of a Democrat?