The evidence of the strikingly poor data provided to the federal government on jobs “created” or “saved” from the stimulus continues to mount. Ohio Watchdog reports that according to recovery.org, the federal web site tracking stimulus dollars, ten new Congressional Districts spent $5.3 million and created 11 jobs. These district don’t exist. According to the Ohio Watchdog press release:
Over $5 billion of stimulus money has seen its way into the State of Ohio thanks to the federal stimulus. The main goal of the money is to create or retain jobs and stimulate the economy in Ohio. According to www.recovery.gov more than 17,00 jobs have been created or retained, 11 of which are in Congressional Districts that do not exist: 21st, 99th, 69th, 87th, 85th, 49th, 20th, 54th, 56th, and 00. These 11 jobs have cost more than $5.3 million; more than 80% of the jobs created or retained so far are located in the Central Ohio area.
Of course, most of these are data entry errors, and not outright fraud. But, they speak to the quality of the data and argue for a healthy skepticism about using any of these numbers to evaluate the effectiveness of these programs. It will take years before the effects of the stimulus can be sorted out.
The next time someone cites these numbers to show the effectiveness of the program, remind them of the old computer programming saying: “Garbage in, garbage out.”
These errors are also not isolated, as the post by my colleague Anthony Randazzo yesterday pointed out.