White House: Yeah, So About Those Jobs We Were Counting, That’s Not Really Gonna Work Out Anymore

From the White House Office of Management and Budget goofed up policy department comes a new memo that basically repeals two whole years of Obama jobs rhetoric. No longer will the White House talk about cumulative jobs saved or created, but instead will count every job someone takes as a benefit of the stimulus or other Obama policies—whether or not those jobs are new or would have existed without the policies and programs. Obama promised during his campaign and all through his first year in office that he would save or create 3.5 million jobs. It turned out that the counting of this was more problematic than they anticipated. And now the rhetoric is being reshaped to save face. Propublica has the whole story:

When the White House unveiled its nearly $800 billion stimulus package last year, it promised not only to create and save 3.5 million jobs but also to open the books and prove it. But counting jobs turned out to be a lot harder than lining up a work crew and tapping hardhats.

Now, the White House says it will no longer keep a cumulative tally of jobs created and saved by the stimulus. Instead, it will post only a count of jobs for each quarter. And instead of counting only created and saved jobs, it will count any person who works on a project funded with stimulus money—even if that person was never in danger of losing his or her job.

The new rules came out last month in a little-noticed memo (PDF) sent to federal agencies by Peter Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget. OMB said it changed the guidelines to prevent the kinds of errors and confusion that occurred when the first job counts came out in October.

But Rep. Darrell Issa of California, the top Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said the Obama administration is making the job numbers even more misleading and is trying to pump them up by counting jobs that weren’t created or retained. He outlined his concerns in a letter (PDF) Friday to the government’s stimulus watchdog, Earl Devaney. “I think ‘jobs created or saved’ has simply lost all its credibility,” Issa said in an interview. “It was opportunistic accounting from Day One.”

Read the whole piece here.