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You know it's got to be bad when ABC gets in the game

We noted today's blog by Jake Tapper in Political Punch $160,000 Per Stimulus Job? White House Calls That 'Calculator Abuse'  October 30, 2009 7:12 PM

“Posting its results late this afternoon at Recovery.gov, the White House claimed 640,329 jobs have been created or saved because of the $159 billion in stimulus funds allocated as of Sept. 30.

Officials acknowledged the numbers were not exact, saying that states and localities that reported the numbers have made mistakes….

The White House argues that the actual job number is actually larger than 640,000 -- closer to 1 million jobs when one factors in stimulus jobs added in October and, more importantly, jobs created indirectly, such as "the waitress who's still on the job," Vice President Biden said today.

So let's see. Assuming their number is right -- 160 billion divided by 1 million. Does that mean the stimulus costs taxpayers $160,000 per job?

Jared Bernstein, chief economist and senior economic advisor to the vice president, called that "calculator abuse."

He said the cost per job was actually $92,000 -- but acknowledged that estimate is for the whole stimulus package as of the end of 2010.”

In addition to plain old common sense there is a credible body of competent macroeconomic evidence to suggest these kinds of PT Barnum scams have negative multipliers. It’s the same template as Cash for Clunkers with the same practical results. The government taxes working people to “create or save”[i] a job at cost of $160,000/job. Of course, there is not enough current tax revenue to pay the costs, so the government issues bonds which current and future generations (your children) will have to pay off.

In the spirit of constructive suggestions, how about this bold cost saving idea for next time? 

  • give away $80,000 (instead of $160,000) to a million randomly selected people (random, because you wouldn’t want to risk value laden linking of outcomes to behavior)
  • take $60,000 per person ( ~$60,000,000,000) out back and burn it in the same fire pit you burned the Cash for Clunkers money;
  • you thereby save the taxpayers $20,000 per job ‘created or saved’ or about $20,000,000,000 
  • you save the taxpayer interest on the interest on the $20,000,000,000 debt that wasn't issued

Better get used to it.  Now where is the US $ trading again?

Just wait for healthcare.

[i] c.f. p.176, Generally Accepted Enron Accounting Principles ("GAEAP") as cited by Madoff in Heads I Win Tails, You Lose, 2008, Wide Stripe Press, NY, NY


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