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Sunday, November 08, 2009

 

Where are those "shovel ready" jobs?

When the Obama administration put together it stimulus package all the talk was about building roads, fixing bridges, building schools … you know, the kind of jobs that people envision when they think of jobs that the government should encourage while improving our infrastructure. That’s why we heard incessant references to “shovel ready jobs.” It brought to mind images of people actually working, wielding shovels, running construction equipment, widening roads to fix traffic congestion, replacing dilapidated schools. In other words, building things.

So how’s that working out in your neighborhood, city, country or state? In Oregon, those "shovel ready jobs" aren't. They borrowed $175 million to create 3,000 jobs. Here's the report.
A state report released Friday shows that of 499 projects, 73 have started. The number of "retained" jobs, 270. The number of new jobs to date, 16. That's not much bang for the buck.

In Virginia, wherever you go the talk is about building roads and how to pay for them. When the talk turns to funding that road building the answer is always to be found in Richmond, Virginia’s capital. Yet the Federal Government passed a stimulus package funded with $787 billion dollars of our tax money with the promise that it would be spent on projects just like this to create jobs that would employ the unemployed. So why are we talking tax increases instead of that stimulus money?

We were told that if the stimulus was not passed, unemployment would exceed 9%; with the stimulus it would only reach 8%. The “official” unemployment rate is 10.2%





... and the real rate is over 17%


With the ranks of the unemployed rising by hundreds of thousands a month you would think that there would be an outcry by our professional “outcriers,” the media. But you would be wrong. Other than noting the passing of each unemployment milestone, we don’t hear any questions being raised about the absence of those “shovel ready jobs.” In fact we hear very few questions about the phony “jobs created or saved” numbers. But here and there some people are looking into those numbers. From the Chicago Tribune:

More than $4.7 million in federal stimulus aid so far has been funneled to schools in North Chicago, and state and federal officials say that money has saved the jobs of 473 teachers.

Problem is, the district employs only 290 teachers.

"That other number, I don't know where that came from," said Lauri Hakanen, superintendent of North Chicago Community Unit Schools District 187.



That is only one of many examples of job creation/saving that simply can’t be true. The other theme that runs through all of the jobs data that comes out of the Obama administration is that the focus has been on funding school teachers and other employees of state and local agencies. The last time I looked, teachers and school administrators were not wielding shovels or any other implement of construction.

Ed Morrissey has read the reports and notes …

In looking at the table on the last page of the report, it becomes clear that New Hampshire and the federal government directed the money primarily at politically sensitive government jobs. Over two-thirds of the jobs are in the Department of Education, and another 745 in “government services.” Directing the money there allowed New Hampshire to avoid the politically difficult job of downsizing and streamlining in response to the downturn in revenues during the recession. The White House can claim that they saved the job of teachers, police officers, and firefighters whose jobs were never in jeopardy, and New Hampshire avoided cutting jobs elsewhere by shifting the money to cover budget shortfalls.


In California, reports the Sacramento Bee Many California jobs 'saved' by stimulus funds weren't in jeopardy.

In a required state report to the federal government, the university system said the $268.5 million it received in stimulus funding through October allowed it to retain 26,156 employees.

That total represents more than half of CSU's statewide work force. However, university officials confirmed Thursday that half their workers were not going to be laid off without the stimulus dollars.

"This is not really a real number of people," CSU spokeswoman Clara Potes-Fellow said. "It's like a budget number."


Meanwhile millions have lost real jobs, numbers that reflect real hardship and real loss while Obama government officials apply false statistical lip gloss to unemployement that threatens to equal the Great Depression.

I know of many people who have lost their jobs in the private sector, workers in retail shops, in construction, in the local Ford truck plant, and most recently over 1100 are losing their jobs at an International Paper plant in Windsor, Virginia. I just don’t see that many teachers, police and firemen whose jobs are in danger.

When the AP dug into the initial data supporting the claims of “jobs created or saved” they found …

An early progress report on President Barack Obama's economic recovery plan overstates by thousands the number of jobs created or saved through the stimulus program, a mistake that White House officials promise will be corrected in future reports.

The government's first accounting of jobs tied to the $787 billion stimulus program claimed more than 30,000 positions paid for with recovery money. But that figure is overstated by least 5,000 jobs, according to an Associated Press review of a sample of stimulus contracts.

The AP review found some counts were more than 10 times as high as the actual number of jobs; some jobs credited to the stimulus program were counted two and sometimes more than four times; and other jobs were credited to stimulus spending when none was produced.

For example:
- A company working with the Federal Communications Commission reported that stimulus money paid for 4,231 jobs, when about 1,000 were produced.
- A Georgia community college reported creating 280 jobs with recovery money, but none was created from stimulus spending.
- A Florida child care center said its stimulus money saved 129 jobs but used the money on raises for existing employees.


This is serious stuff. Many people who lose their jobs don’t have a fat nest egg to fall back on. When the $787 billion dollar “stimulus” bill produces this kind of eyewash, Hell should break out. Instead, the media notes and passes on. If the Washington Post spent even part of the ink that they devoted to smearing George Allen as a racist for uttering “macaca” or to writing about Virginia Governor-elect Bob McDonnell’s college papers, the government may actually begin spending some money on “shovel ready” jobs. But that would be too much to ask of people who legs still tingle at the thought of Obama and who swallow the lie that the government can measure a job saved. Perhaps a little more time spent asking where those “shovel ready” jobs are would help create them. But then, the MSM would be helping working people – who attend “tea party” rallies - and that changes the complexion of things.

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