Friday, July 10, 2009

Is Obama Cooking the Books re Jobs Created by His Stimulus?

I received this email from someone who insists on anonymity because it could cost him his job:

"I won't disclose the company involved for reasons you should be able to divine. I work for a Fortune 500 defense contractor.

Management has been informed by Obama administration officials that we must go to the Federal Register and report that all the people currently working on our largest programs (5-10 years running) will now be classified as 'new' jobs 'created' by stimulus funding...or else.

'Or else what?' you may ask. Or else no new government contracts, plus the current ones may be stopped, that's what.

Considering this would mean thousands of people instantly unemployed, and management bonus and salaries evaporating, I think you can guess the answer our management gave to these Chicago-style thugs.

Please understand that these programs were already fully funded by various agencies for many more years. The government is taking that funding away, switching it out with freshly minted stimu-dollars and falsely claiming that new jobs were created.

Okay fine. Cook the books and lie about how many jobs the stimulus created, but this begs the question - where did the 'de-obligated' money go? You know, the original millions of dollars we already had won and were under contract for?

Inquiring minds want to know."

Syndicated columnist Linda Chavez's latest column offers plenty reason why Obama would be tempted to cook the job-creation books:

"When will the failing U.S. economy become President Obama's problem? To date, the president seems immune to criticism of his handling of the economy, except from conservatives. Job losses continue to mount, despite his promises that his "stimulus" plan would create jobs and stop rising unemployment. The housing market shows no sign of imminent recovery, with prices continuing to decline and more homeowners falling behind on their payments. Retail sales fell again in June, with even value stores like Costco experiencing drops in sales. And the federal debt has risen under President Obama to its highest level as a percentage of gross domestic product since the U.S. was coping with the debt incurred in World War II.

"Meanwhile the president went off to Russia to negotiate dubious arms agreements while administration officials back home plotted the nationalization of one of the largest sectors of the U.S. economy: the health system.

"In January, the Obama team said that unemployment would level off at about 8 percent with the passage of a nearly trillion-dollar stimulus plan. The stimulus package was supposed to create 1-3 million new jobs -- but to date even the White House claims only 150,000 jobs have been created or saved by their profligate spending. Let's see, the math on that works out to about $5 million per job.

"It's not even clear that the paltry 150,000 jobs are real. Unemployment figures show that nearly 2 million people have lost jobs since the stimulus plan took effect. The White House calculations depend on a formula used to predict job creation based on government spending and tax cuts, but the formula doesn't actually count jobs. But even if you accept the Obama administration's claims, a disproportionate number of those jobs appear to have gone to Obama's union allies: namely, the teachers unions, autoworkers, and state and local public employees. But, not to worry, the administration now says that by August 750,000 jobs will have been created or saved by mortgaging America's future. "

Of course, in light of the email above, one wonders how many will be real new jobs. As a career counselor, I can say that I'm seeing people having more and more trouble landing a job, with fear rising, not falling.


Anonymous said...

This email will (or perhaps already is) independently verifiable, and I can't think of anyone better placed to know who to ask than you are: the Federal Register is public, the history of defense contracts is relatively public (aside from some of the contracts that are specific to nondisclosed budget in security programs.)

It would seem that someone whose specialty is looking at jobs would know who to ask to keep an eye out for fake "new jobs" at defense contractors popping up in the Federal Register - jobs on programs that were funded long ago and that have been reporting staffing and progress for years.

I hope that you will ask the question and point us to the folks tracking the data.

Marty Nemko said...

Dear Anonymous,

Excellent points. Alas, I'd have no idea who to ask. I may be many things but "well placed" isn't one of them.

Also, I am truly swamped just keeping my head above water in serving my career counseling clients, writing for US News, Kiplinger, and my blog, and doing my two radio shows.

I of course would welcome others taking the ball on this and would welcome seeing the results of their efforts on this blog.

gspieler said...

I am always skeptical about "anonymous" notes.

It is too easy to fake facts in the name of "losing my job."

If one must be anonymous, then the person must point to a way to validate said information to the public.

Otherwise, just an opinion to back up a bias.

Anonymous said...

I think Marty doth protest too much; he goes from claiming not to being well placed to mentioning his affiliation with US News.

I'm sure there are folks at US News who's know what databases to look at to validate the claim.

But if not, perhaps there is an investigative journalist reading the blog lately?

Anonymous said...

It's hard to hide the fact that net unemployment is increasing. Things are going from bad to worse, the administrations's policies are harmful for the economy, and lofty rhetoric isn't helping a bit.

The question is, are you better off now than you were when the Democrats took control of Congress in 2006?