Monday, November 16, 2009

Hope and Change Smoke and Mirrors

FTFY, Mr. President.

A Tip of the Toque to Gaius at Blue Crab Boulevard.

Remember Obama's promise to bring transparency to government? Apparently, not so much. From a new article by ABC News:

Here's a stimulus success story: In Arizona's 15th congressional district, 30 jobs have been saved or created with just $761,420 in federal stimulus spending. At least that's what the Web site set up by the Obama administration to track the $787 billion stimulus says.

There's one problem, though: There is no 15th congressional district in Arizona; the state has only eight districts.

And ABC News has found many more entries for projects like this in places that are incorrectly identified.

Late Monday, officials with the Recovery Board created to track the stimulus spending, said the mistakes in crediting nonexistent congressional districts were caused by human error.

"We report what the recipients submit to us," said Ed Pound, Communications Director for the Board.

That's not mere human error. That's either laziness or intentional deception on the part of the recovery board for not verifying the claims before postingthem to a government website.

Meanwhile, over at the New York Times (of all places!), Ross Douthat points out the moving of goalposts by the administration:

...The stimulus bill was framed and sold primarily as a jobs bill, and the Obama administration placed a substantial bet on the promise that the unemployment rate would start dropping before 2010 arrived. When the stimulus passed with almost no Republican support, Rahm Emanuel, the president’s chief of staff, declared that “the most important number ... is how many jobs it produces, not how many votes it gets.”

He was right. But with unemployment near a 25-year high, that “most important number” isn’t looking very good. The White House is stuck arguing counterfactuals — how much worse the economy would be without the stimulus — and trumpeting obviously inflated estimates of how many jobs have been “created or saved” by federal dollars.

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. I am the Great and Powerful Obama.