Obama's Porkulus Wordplay

Like many Democrats, statists, and leftists, our illustrious Constitution expert law professor of a President believes the U.S. Constitution is a “living” document. In theory, this allows the 223-year old Constitution to change with the times; in practice, it undermines the Constitution as it renders as meaningless the words within it.

Yesterday, Teh Won had this to say on the 1-year anniversary of Porkulus:

So far, the Recovery Act is responsible for the jobs of about 2 million Americans who would otherwise be unemployed.

Ehhhh…I don’t think so. It isn’t me who is saying this; it’s based on the words of Teh Won’s own minions.

As I had mentioned a few weeks ago, Jake Tapper reported on a change that OMB head Peter Orszag had made back in December in how Porkulus jobs were to be reported. Here’s how they define a Porkulus job:

2. Definitions of jobs considered to be created or retained:

a. A job created is a new position created and filled, or an existing unfilled position that is filled, that is funded by the Recovery Act;
b. A job retained is an existing position that is now funded by the Recovery Act.

Using the definitions above, recipients must estimate the total number of jobs that were funded in the quarter by the Recovery Act. A funded job is defined as one in which the wages or salaries are either paid for or will be reimbursed with Recovery Act funding.

With that, they first take the total number of hours all employees worked in a quarter on projects funded by Porkulus, regardless of whether or not the job would have remained without the Porkulus project. This is what makes the numbers so nebulous and subject to great speculation. Then, they take the number of hours a full-time employee would work in a quarter, 520 (40 hours/wk * 13 wks/quarter = 520 hours). Lastly, they divide 520 from the total number of hours worked on a Porkulus project and derive the number of estimated jobs saved or created. Again, this doesn’t take into account whether or not an employee would have kept their job without a project funded from Porkulus. It also doesn’t take into account how many of these jobs were temporary where the projects are complete and the employee(s) is(are) now on unemployment.

But for President Teh Won, the factors at the end of the last paragraph don’t make for a good soundbite. It’s much better to just say “So far, the Recovery Act is responsible for the jobs of about 2 million Americans who would otherwise be unemployed,” and stick with that. For all we know, half of those people are now back on unemployment; but, of course, that would wreck the administration propaganda narrative. Therefore, all that is factored out and voilà, Porkulus is pronounced a success.

What we have is whole lotta fuzzy math going on. But this is nothing new. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report for January, the unemployment rate went down from 10% to 9.7%, even though there was a net job loss of 20,000 jobs.The same report shows that the number of jobs lost in December was revised to show 150,000 jobs lost as compared to the originally reported 85,000 jobs lost, a net increase of 65,000; I don’t see how anyone wouldn’t think a revision showing a net increase in jobs lost won’t occur again.

Naturally, the Obama administration “portrayed the report as grounds for cautious optimism.” Of course they did; these are the same people who said Porkulus created or saved 2 million jobs. But it’s no different than how Teh Won’s “spokesmouths” in the media can use numbers, numbers based on the manipulation of language, to demagogue the Citizens United v. FEC ruling that actually upholds the First Amendment.

I think Obama’s Presidency can be summed up fairly nicely with one simple phrase.

It’s the narrative, stupid.