Out of Control Policy Blog

The Skewy White House Jobs Numbers

Stanford University's Michael Boskin has an excellent op-ed in The Wall Street Journal today, criticizing the jobs numbers of the administration:

America has not been immune from this dangerous numbers game. Every president is guilty of spinning unpleasant statistics. President Richard Nixon even thought there was a conspiracy against him at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But President Barack Obama has taken it to a new level. His laudable attempt at transparency in counting the number of jobs "created or saved" by the stimulus bill has degenerated into farce and was just junked this week.

The administration has introduced the new notion of "jobs saved" to take credit where none was ever taken before. It seems continually to confuse gross and net numbers. For example, it misses the jobs lost or diverted by the fiscal stimulus. And along with the congressional leadership it hypes the number of "green jobs" likely to be created from the explosion of spending, subsidies, loans and mandates, while ignoring the job losses caused by its taxes, debt, regulations and diktats.

The president and his advisers—their credibility already reeling from exaggeration (the stimulus bill will limit unemployment to 8%) and reneged campaign promises (we'll go through the budget "line-by-line")—consistently imply that their new proposed regulation is a free lunch. When the radical attempt to regulate energy and the environment with the deeply flawed cap-and-trade bill is confronted with economic reality, instead of honestly debating the trade-offs they confidently pronounce that it boosts the economy. They refuse to admit that it simply boosts favored sectors and firms at the expense of everyone else.

My colleague Sam Staley has recently written about this for National Review. See his blog post on the matter here.

Read the whole WSJ piece here.

Anthony Randazzo is Director of Economic Research


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