Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Stop lying about those stimulus jobs

Give the mainstream news media some credit: They have diligently dug into President Obama's fanciful boasts of job creation. When Obama claimed earlier this month that his $787 billion economic stimulus package had "saved or created" 640,000 jobs, a dozen news organizations pounced. They soon highlighted some of the most egregious cases of sketchy job creation in about 20 states.

From their reports, The Examiner has created an online interactive map for tracking exaggerated stimulus claims. So far, more than 75,000 jobs -- exceeding 10 percent of the total -- are either highly doubtful or clearly imaginary. In the coming weeks, we expect to add many thousands more to that total as other media organizations scrutinize stimulus grants in their areas.

Obama and his senior aides have sought to downplay the importance of exact numbers, but they invited close scrutiny earlier this year by setting dramatic expectations for the effect the stimulus program would have on employment. If his stimulus program was approved, Obama promised, unemployment would not go above 8 percent this year. The reality is that it passed 10.3 percent in October. So now the stimulus books are being cooked to mollify an anxious public worried that real-world jobs continue to disappear and angry that Obama has thrown almost $1 trillion down the stimulus rathole.

With his political advisers in a panic, Obama is now planning a State of the Union policy pivot intended to stave off a disastrous congressional election in 2010. After running up the nation's first-ever $1.4 trillion annual budget deficit for 2009, Obama will strike a new pose in January as the man who will stop government extravagance. Budget Director Peter Orszag says Obama will offer new suggestions for budget cuts and "revenue raisers," aka "tax hikes."

Obama's previous budget-cutting masquerade was laughable. In July, he called for a pathetic $265 million in cuts. But with a $3 trillion annual budget, Washington blows that much in about two blinks of an eye. Besides, most of the Obama "cuts" were proposed in full knowledge that Congress would never approve them. No doubt, Obama will present the same sort of faux budget cuts in 2010. But Obama's "concern" about excessive government spending likely will be no more credible to voters next November than the thousands of phantom stimulus jobs he claims to have created this year.