City Life column misleads: Creating jobs was a “key goal” of the (failed) stimulus

Victor Joecks

Last week the national unemployment rate dropped to 10 percent. This is a good thing only because last month unemployment was over 10 percent. Unemployment in double digits is yet another reminder that the stimulus was and is an epic failure.

For evidence of the epic failure of the stimulus So it’s especially ironic to read this in liberal blogger Hugh Jackson’s recent City Life column.

“[T]he stimulus is doing what it is supposed to do, it is contributing to ending the recession,” Moody’s economist and former McCain-Palin economic adviser Mark Zandi recently told the New York Times, in a story reporting that all the mess and farce of implementation notwithstanding, economists have reached a consensus that the stimulus a) was necessary and b) is working.

The creation of new jobs is the least significant impact of the stimulus, so naturally that’s the part that Democrats and Republicans have chosen to squabble over. (Emphasis added)

Funny, that’s not what President Obama thought in January.

Early this year, as the U.S. Congress prepared to debate a $787 billion spending bill that’s better known as the stimulus plan, President Barack Obama claimed that immediate action was necessary to prevent unemployment from skyrocketing.

“Experts agree that if nothing is done, the unemployment rate could reach double digits,” Mr. Obama said in a January 24 radio address. “If we do not act boldly and swiftly, a bad situation could become dramatically worse.” The same month, his economic advisors released a report saying that, without the stimulus, unemployment would hit around 8.5 percent by April 2009, and 7.8 percent with it. (Emphasis added)

In the next sentence in that address, President Obama said, “That is why I have proposed an American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan to immediately jumpstart job creation as well as long-term economic growth.”

A report by the President’s staff also made this point. (Note: The original graph at the top of this blog came from this report.)

A key goal enunciated by the President-Elect concerning the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan is that it should save or create at least 3 million jobs by the end of 2010.

Or check out the White House’s current page on the economy.

President Obama’s first priority in confronting the economic crisis is to put Americans back to work. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan signed by the President will spur job creation while making long-term investments in health care, education, energy, and infrastructure.

So although Jackson claims the “creation of new jobs was the least significant impact of the stimulus,” President Obama argued (and his website still does) that creating new jobs is the President’s “first priority.”

This is important because Jackson and the liberals in Washington, D.C., including President Obama, are pushing for even more wasteful government spending – this time disguised as a jobs bill.

The problem is that job creation isn’t a job for any politician, and as the chart above shows, it’s one that politicians are terrible at, anyway.

There is one thing, however, on which I agree with Jackson – although for entirely different reasons:

When — and if — Nevada again achieves something resembling economic health, it will be despite the state’s political class, not because of it.