With the release of a recent report on the Stimulus by the Congressional Budget Office, Democrats are howling with pride over what they deem to be the successes of the massive spending program.
Among other things, the report states the stimulus has created between 1.8 million and 4.1 million jobs.
It also states that the unemployment rate has dropped between 0.7 and 1.5%.
Houston, we have a problem.
As we all know by now, the unemployment rate has not dropped by any amount. In fact, it has increased by 1.7% since the stimulus was enacted.
But let’s refocus on those job numbers Democrats are crowing about.
Douglas Elmendorf, the head of the Congressional Budget Office, has stated plainly that his team’s estimates do not measure real-world outputs (just inputs), that they do not serve as an independent check on its success or failure, and that if the stimulus had not created jobs, the CBO’s figures would not reflect that fact. So no, sorry, try again: The CBO’s updates do not actually confirm whether or not the stimulus is creating jobs.
In other words, the CBO did not look at any real jobs data. They merely calculated the amount spent and used a formula to determine how many jobs that money would create.
Previously, Elmendorf has been very clear about whether these CBO reports should be used as confirmation that the stimulus is creating jobs.
Following up, the questioner asks for clarification: “If the stimulus bill did not do what it was originally forecast to do, then that would not have been detected by the subsequent analysis, right?” Elmendorf’s response? “That’s right. That’s right.”
So that begs the question, what has the stimulus done for Ohio?
That’s where Recovery.gov comes in handy.
While Ohio has been awarded $7.6 billion, it has only received $1.7 billion.
Sidenote – It feels weird using the word “only” when discussing numbers this big.
So what has that $1.7 billion given us? 23,072 jobs in the first quarter of 2010.
That’s $73,682 tax dollars spent per job.
But let’s look a little closer. Where are those jobs going?
Here’s the messed up part.
66% of all the stimulus jobs in Ohio have gone to one zip code. The 43215.
Think Congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy has gotten a little love? Oh yeah.
84% of all of Ohio’s stimulus jobs this quarter are in her congressional district!
I wonder how many votes that will buy her.
And yet, even with this overwhelming focus on one congressional district within Franklin County, the county still suffers from an unacceptably high unemployment rate of 9.3%.
You want to spend more money than has been spent in the totality of the War in Iraq to fund jobs? At least focus the spending where it’s needed! What about Clinton County who’s suffering from 17.7% unemployment? Or Meigs at 15%? Or Huron at 14.5%? Or Noble at 15.5%?
Maybe that explains the widespread voter pessimism about the stimulus.
The bad news for Democrats from a political perspective comes in the recently released numbers from Pew Polling.
Look at the numbers for Democrats and Independents.
42% of Democrats believe the primary spending program produced by their leaders to save jobs….hasn’t worked. Think those people will be enthusiastic to vote?
And Independents? 69% don’t believe the stimulus helped the job situation. Think they’ll be more easily persuaded towards Republicans on the number one issue on their minds…the economy?
Ultimately, if the federal government wanted to spend massive amounts of taxpayer money to help stimulate the nation, targeted pork-ridden spending programs that ignore 1/20th of a state and only fund temporary jobs weren’t the way to go.
Tax cuts across the board were the way to go. Get the money into the hands of the people. The ones that create long-term jobs and economic growth.
But Democrats went their own way. Unemployment is still sky high a year and a half later. And it will hurt them in November.