"WASHINGTON – The government's latest count of stimulus jobs significantly overstates the effects of the $787 billion program under a popular federal preschool program, raising fresh questions about the process the Obama administration is using to tout the success of its economic recovery plan." -AP article, via Yahoo!
"Most of the inflated figures were like those cited in the 935 saved jobs reported by the Southwest Georgia Community Action in Moultrie, Ga. The agency, like hundreds of others collecting Head Start money, claimed all its existing employees' jobs were saved because they received a pay raise with the stimulus cash."
"'It's a glitch in the system,' said Ben Allen, the research director at the National Head Start Association. 'There was some misunderstanding among some in the Head Start community about completing the reporting requirements.'
Allen said a cost-of-living adjustment 'may not be viewed traditionally as a job saved, but one could interpret it that, by providing COLA, you're retaining staff.'
This is completely detached from reality. Giving a raise is not the same as creating a job, or even "saving" one.
First, these employees weren't going to quit their jobs without a raise. If they did, it would only be because they had a better opportunity elsewhere. How is that a bad thing? If they did quit their job to take a better one, it would actually open up a position for one of the millions of people looking for work. As with most government intervention, the meddling actually made the problem worse.
During high school, the concept of "imaginary numbers" made my head hurt. I think the mathematical concepts in the next quote are even worse.
"At Council, director Myrtis Mulkey-Ndawula said she followed the guidelines the Obama administration provided. She said she multiplied the 508 employees by 1.84 — the percentage pay raise they received — and came up with 935 jobs saved."
So a 1% salary increase equals a job created or saved?
According to this kind of math, if the Southwest Georgia Community Action Council gave its employees a 2% raise via stimulus funds, it would have "saved" over 1,000 jobs. If they would have given them a 20% raise, they would have saved over 10,000 jobs. If they would have multiplied their pay by 60, we'd have met the 3,000,000 jobs "created or saved" that Obama promised.
Back here in the real world, not a single job was created by this.