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OMB: Counting Jobs Saved Is Tricky. So List All of Them as Saved.

If the attention of the American people is focused somewhere else, it must be time to quickly push through some radical, self-serving, and impossible-to-defend new agency rule. And with Christmas upon us and Americans paying more attention to the offensive mess that the Senate approved today, it’s probably a good time for the Obama administration to significantly expand how they count jobs ‘saved or created’ by the porkulus:

Any existing job funded with stimulus money now will be counted as a job saved, whether it was endangered or not, according to new guidance issued on Dec. 18 by Office of Management and Budget Director Peter R. Orszag.

The memo aims to simplify the original formula that the government required Recovery Act recipients to use to determine whether a job was saved by stimulus funds. The new guidance, however, also will make it more difficult for the public to determine exactly how many jobs the Recovery Act has preserved.

Until now, the Obama administration had asked stimulus recipients to determine how many jobs were saved by the stimulus. The requirement caused confusion among some recipients and a number of embarrassing reporting mistakes.

But the memo clarifies that policy, defining a job retained as any existing position funded by the Recovery Act during the previous reporting quarter. Jobs funded partially with stimulus funds will be counted based on the proportion funded by the Recovery Act…

[OMB Watch's Craig] Jennings said the reporting change is wise because it takes the judgment out of the hands of recipients by providing a clearer definition of jobs saved or retained. For example, Chrysler received $53 million in stimulus money but reported zero jobs created or saved because it used an existing workforce that it determined was not in danger of losing jobs. Using the new guidance, any Chrysler employee whose job was funded by the stimulus during that quarter now would be included.

On the one hand, it’s easy to see why the White House wants to push for the most expansive definition it can for jobs ‘created or saved.’ The American people recognize that the porkulus has failed to deliver on the many promises about it. It’s such a failure that Democrats have already gone back to the drawing board to try to craft a ‘jobs bill,’ that will supposedly do what the porkulus failed to.

But unfortunately for the administration, the problem with their ‘saved or created’ figures was not that the figures were not high enough, it’s that they were nonsensical and lacked credibility. This new interpretation is certain to inflate the number of jobs ‘saved or created,’ but will at the same time render them even more the product of some accountant’s fantasy.

However the Democrats try to spin the numbers, the fact is that the president’s plan has failed. Unemployment is far higher than the White House advertised – even if no ‘stimulus’ plan was adopted. We have dramatically increased the national debt in a way that will force more job-killing taxes down the road. Even with the Alice-in-Wonderland  accounting rules adopted by the White House, there are still far too few jobs added today. And those few jobs are coming on government payrolls, rather than through genuine private sector growth.

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