And in Ohio, the fuzzy Obama math continues:
The Obama administration announced Friday that federal stimulus money had created or saved about 7,200 education jobs in Ohio as of Sept. 30.
Although a couple of hundred of those jobs were in Columbus City Schools, the district acknowledged yesterday that many of the “saved” jobs definitely wouldn’t have been lost in the first place, and others might not have been lost at all.
Of the 212.5 full-time equivalent jobs the district said were funded with part of the $64 million in stimulus it expects to receive, about 65 percent were “saved,” including 36 principals and assistant principals.
So was the district on the verge of laying off 36 school administrators?
“No,” Dannemiller said, explaining that the reporting choices were “created” and “saved.”
“They weren’t ‘created,’ obviously, so our only other choice was ‘saved.’ ”
The federal Office of Management and Budget told agencies in June to define a “saved” job as “an existing position that would not have been continued to be filled were it not for Recovery Act funding.
And the same sort of logic is used in this NBC 3 Cleveland report, which, without question, buys Gov. Strickland’s claim of grant dollars (corporate welfare) creating or saving jobs:
COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Ted Strickland announced more than $1 million in funding for economic development projects in the City of Cleveland that are expected to create 40 and retain 625 jobs.
The projects were approved today by the State Controlling Board.
“We are making strategic investments in Ohio communities and businesses to retain jobs and to advance urban redevelopment efforts,” Strickland said.
Flats East Development LLC will receive a $1 million Rapid Outreach Grant for the costs associated with building construction in support of the company’s redevelopment project in the City of Cleveland (Cuyahoga County).
Flats East Development was created in 2005 to lead the redevelopment of 23 acres along the East bank of the Cuyahoga River in downtown Cleveland.
This $250 million project is expected to retain 625 positions.
AIM Pharmakon, Inc. will receive a $50,000 Rapid Outreach Grant for the costs associated with the acquisition of machinery and equipment in support of the company’s project in the City of Cleveland.
AIM offers an array of niche marketing, branding, and sales consulting services for facilitating pharmaceutical commerce. This $1 million project is expected to create 40 jobs.
It could be entirely correct that stimulus and grant dollars created specific jobs or artificially prolonged someones employment. However, not only is this an inefficient use of resources, these are dollars taken out of the economy from elsewhere- ie., your and your employer’s pockets.
As Henr Hazlitt explained in his classic economics book from 1946, Economics in One Lesson:
I am here concerned with public works considered as a means of “providing employment” or of adding wealth to the community that it would not otherwise have had.
A bridge is built. If it is built to meet an insistent public demand, if it solves a traffic problem or a transportation problem otherwise insoluble, if, in short, it is even more necessary to the taxpayers collectively than the things for which they would have individually spent their money had it had not been taxed away from them, there can be no objection. But a bridge built primarily “to provide employment” is a different kind of bridge. When providing employment becomes the end, need becomes a subordinate consideration. “Projects” have to be invented. Instead of thinking only of where bridges must be built the government spenders begin to ask themselves where bridges can be built. Can they think of plausible reasons why an additional bridge should connect Easton and Weston? It soon becomes absolutely essential. Those who doubt the necessity are dismissed as obstructionists and reactionaries.
Two arguments are put forward for the bridge, one of which is mainly heard before it is built, the other of which is mainly heard after it has been completed. The first argument is that it will provide employment. It will provide, say, 500 jobs for a year. The implication is that these are jobs that would not otherwise have come into existence.
This is what is immediately seen. But if we have trained ourselves to look beyond immediate to secondary consequences, and beyond those who are directly benefited by a government project to others who are indirectly affected, a different picture presents itself. It is true that a particular group of bridgeworkers may receive more employment than otherwise. But the bridge has to be paid for out of taxes. For every dollar that is spent on the bridge a dollar will be taken away from taxpayers. If the bridge costs $10 million the taxpayers will lose $10 million. They will have that much taken away from them which they would otherwise have spent on the things they needed most.
Therefore, for every public job created by the bridge project a private job has been destroyed somewhere else. We can see the men employed on the bridge. We can watch them at work. The employment argument of the government spenders becomes vivid, and probably for most people convincing. But there are other things that we do not see, because, alas, they have never been permitted to come into existence. They are the jobs destroyed by the $10 million taken from the taxpayers. All that has happened, at best, is that there has been a diversion of jobs because of the project. More bridge builders; fewer automobile workers, television technicians, clothing workers, farmers.
But then we come to the second argument. The bridge exists. It is, let us suppose, a beautiful and not an ugly bridge. It has come into being through the magic of government spending. Where would it have been if the obstructionists and the reactionaries had had their way? There would have been no bridge. The country would have been just that much poorer. Here again the government spenders have the better of the argument with all those who cannot see beyond the immediate range of their physical eyes. They can see the bridge. But if they have taught themselves to look for indirect as well as direct consequences they can once more see in the eye of imagination the possibilities that have never been allowed to come into existence. They can see the unbuilt homes, the unmade cars and washing machines, the unmade dresses and coats, perhaps the ungrown and unsold foodstuffs. To see these uncreated things requires a kind of imagination that not many people have. We can think of these nonexistent objects once, perhaps, but we cannot keep them before our minds as we can the bridge that we pass every working day. What has happened is merely that one thing has been created instead of others.
It doesn’t matter if we are talking about giving ObamaBucks to inefficient public schools or if Gov. Strickland cuts a check to contractors to rebuild part of the Cleveland Flats, this is a redirection of resources taken by force. Therefore, this claimed job creation and retention is only at the cost of destroying jobs and potential investment elsewhere.
However, if they media is going to take the Obama Administration’s ridiculous numbers seriously, perhaps they should mention that, according to Recovery.gov, Ohio has had fewer “created or saved” jobs than Puerto Rico.