"Stimulus" Fuzzy Math of the Day: RAT Board Shrugs Responsibility

Posted: Nov 19, 2009 10:33 AM
Guest post from Mattie Duppler with the Center for Fiscal Accountability

In response to Rep. Darrell Issa's request for information on recovery.gov, Earl Devaney, head of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, confirmed exactly what we have been arguing since the first day President Obama uttered his dubious millions of jobs “saved or created” claim: the reports of jobs impacted by the bill cannot, in fact, be verified. Specifically, the letter, sent yesterday, stated:

“Your letter specifically asks if I am able to certify that the number of jobs reported as created/saved on Recovery.gov is accurate and auditable. No, I am not able to make this certification.”

Unfazed, Devaney continued by sticking to the administration’s current messaging scheme, making nebulous promises that the system for vetting the job reports was improving and that posting the information online has

“established a process that will lead to increasingly higher levels of accuracy in the future.”

The deficiency of federal guidelines in the initial reporting of jobs should attest to the inanity of this claim. In Nevada, just within the state’s department of Education there were several discrepancies on how jobs should be reported – local authorities were using the base salary of $92,000 to calculate jobs in their districts, the department relied on an estimate of $66,681 while the state’s higher education system decided they would use an average of $45,000. Imagine the inaccuracies when this kind of confusion is multiplied several times over for different agencies, and then by 57 for each of the states, D.C. and U.S. territories.

The absence of specific accounting procedures in place before launching an accountability program, the largesse of which the administration has been quick to point out to illustrate its grand, though vacuous, commitment to transparency, should indicate a blatant lack of concern for accuracy in “stimulus” reporting. The jobs saved/created claim, devised as a hyperbolic tool to promote the President’s agenda, cannot stand up to the facts on the ground. The administration is suddenly in the awkward position of trying to reconcile its economic delusions with the reality of an America where 10.2% of the population is unemployed…and are finding it difficult to do.

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