Despite monotonous demands from the president to immediately pass a new "jobs" bill that bears a striking resemblance to his failed "stimulus" plan, Congress hasn't exactly sprung into action. This, in theory, is what the president hoped would happen. He'd propose a bad plan, Congress would say no, which would allow him to run around the country waging a Truman-style campaign against a "do-nothing Congress." The trouble for Barack Obama is that his plan isn't just stalled in the Republican-controlled House; the Democratic Senate is also sitting on its hands because a number of vulnerable Democrats aren't willing to support the unpaid-for legislation. Quoth Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Obama's American Jobs Act: "We'll get to that." Eventually. Maybe.
Several weeks ago, supportive Democrats were eagerly pointing to an estimate by their go-to Keynesian economist, Mark Zandi of Moody's. Zandi estimated that Obama's plan would create 1.9 million new jobs. (We still await Zandi's projection of the number of rainbow-colored unicorns that would also be saved or created). As I wrote at the time, even if you bought this figure hook, line, and sinker, the math would work out to well over $200,000 of borrowed taxpayer money per job. Treasury Secretary called this ratio a "bargain." With momentum for the president's plan stalled -- assuming there was any to begin with -- the White House has seized on a new survey of economists that says passage of the bill would stave off a double-dip recession. These economists' bottom-line finding has generated some positive headlines for Obama, but as National Review's Andrew Stiles notes, Team Obama is hoping nobody reads the actual data they're promoting:
But while the White House team evidently stands by this Bloomberg survey, they are probably hoping you won’t read past the headline. In fact, according to the median estimate of the 34 economists surveyed, the president’s jobs bill would “add or keep” 275,000 jobs in 2012, and just 13,000 in 2013. That comes out to a total of 288,000 jobs ‘kept or added’ over the next two years...Obama’s bill, meanwhile, carries a $447 billion price tag, which works out to a little more than $1.6 million for every job ‘kept or added.’ Simple math, as the president would say.
$1.6 million per job saved or created. Let that number marinate for a moment: If passed, Obama's jobs plan would cost $1.6 million taxpayer dollars for every job it would save or create -- according to the very economists Team Obama is touting. This is insane. Slogan idea -- Obama 2012: Because We Can Trust Him With Our Money.