Economics

De Rugy on the Big Lie of 3 Million Stimulus Jobs

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Still not true

Starting right the hell now, Reason economics columnist Veronique de Rugy is slated to testify up on Capitol Hill about the effects, real and imagined, of the stimulus. Over at The Corner, de Rugy reacts to the White House Concil of Economic Advisors claim that the stimulus has "saved or created" at least 3 million jobs already. Sample:

As it turns out, when you unpack the numbers, you find that [Christina] Romer and her team didn't actually count how many people got a job thanks to the stimulus. Instead, the number is a projection that relies on the myth that a dollar of government spending creates up to 2.5 dollars of economic growth. […]

I am about to release the third Stimulus Facts report based on Recovery.gov data, which show that four out of five jobs created were created in the public sector. Remember the promise made by Romer herself when the stimulus was passed, that the bill would create 3.5 million jobs in two years, mostly in the private sector? Almost two years later, 682,370 jobs were reported created, not 3 million, and over 510,000 of these were in the public sector.

Whole thing here. Tune into C-SPAN to (hopefully) watch de Rugy in action.

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  1. Was there ever a more ridiculous assembly of weasel words used by a Presidential Administration than the classic- “jobs saved or created”

    Either employment rates go up or down. You don’t get credit for “saving” jobs.

    1. You don’t get credit for “saving” jobs.

      Nuh-uh! Do too!

    2. Uh, try “weapons of mass destruction”

  2. I have a five year plan you’re welcome to borrow.

  3. It must be nice being an economist. Just assume what you want to prove is true. I wish math was this easy.

    Assumption: The Riemann Hypothesis is true.

    Proof: By assumption, the Riemann Hypothesis is true. QED

    Where’s my $1,000,000 Clay Math Institute?

    1. You will be more famous if you decline the prize.

  4. Both CSpans are showing floor action right now.

      1. BTW, House or Senate committee so I will know which to check?

  5. Half a million jobs created means that 2.5 million were saved!! Why, just imagine…if there were no stimulus, those jobs wouldn’t have been saved, and the unemployment rate would be up to nearly 9% by now!

    1. Dr. Romer, you are fascinating!

      1. Not to mention fat and jolly!

  6. I hope that the term “Big Lie,” which is usually associated with Josef Goebbels, is not being used to compare an argument made in the context of a budget dispute with the propaganda tactics of Nazis. The term “lie” gets cheapened enough in the blogosphere without it being used as a rhetorical stunt to compare people you don’t like and disagree with to Nazis.

    1. No care about Big Lie, only BIG RAPE!!!!!!

    2. MY PANTIES ARE VERY TIGHT TODAY!!!

    3. Yeah Steve, I spend my life comparing my rhetorical opponents to Nazis. Famous for it, really.

      I can’t measure your “usually associated with” claim, but I can testify that in four decades of reading nonfiction and paying a decent amount of attention to 20th century European history, the phrase had never become associated in my mind with Nazis. Had it been, this would not have been the headline.

      And if you’re concerned with the word “lie” being cheapened, you might want to take it up first with people in power making claims for which they have no evidence.

      1. First I’ve heard of that too.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Lie

        “That is of course rather painful for those involved. One should not as a rule reveal one’s secrets, since one does not know if and when one may need them again. The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.”

        The more things change….

      2. While I agree with De Rugy’s argument, I must admit that I too associate the term Big Lie with Goebbels and nazi propaganda innovations. I am by no means an english language expert however, and I do have an unusual level of interest in WWII history.

      3. Is “Big Lie” trademarked somewhere, like Lisa Beamer trademarked Let’s Roll? Because if not, um, feel free to use it to describe things that are, uh…not true, and um…publicized in a big way, such as by the White House press corps and staffers. In other words, things that are “lies” and also “big.” In other words, “big lies.”

        JFC.

    4. Calling a lie a lie is not a “rhetorical stunt.”

    5. “Steve Smith comes in from the left with a sasquatch of a Godwin!”

    6. The U.S. Office of Strategic Services described Hitler’s psychological profile as follows:

      His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.

      Sounds to me like the formula followed by conservatives since the days of St. Reagan.

  7. Veronique cherie, you devastate this administration with your arguments!

  8. I hope that the term “Big Lie,” which is usually associated with Josef Goebbels, is not being used to compare an argument made in the context of a budget dispute with the propaganda tactics of Nazis.

    If the shoe fits . . . .

    1. …. like a perfect size 11 jackboot.

  9. I might actually call this the Big Lie of this administration.

    And no, it’s not an attempt to compare this administration to Nazis. It’s just a very useful phrase in political discourse to describe something that’s highly dubious, yet forcefully repeated by those in power.

  10. Other words associated with the Nazis that should never be used in polite discourse:

    blitzkrieg (and the dimunitive blitz)
    genocide
    anti-semitism

    Any others?

    1. Brownshirt. Unless you mean tea partiers, in which case it’s OK.

    2. Final Solution.
      Capitalist Jewry.

    3. Adolf Hitler video rant.

    4. I should have thought of this before my previous post. Still, I think using terms that draw mental association with nazis is always a delicate balance. Even if the analogy is quite sound to people of libertarian thinking, there is always the danger of sounding like nuts who think Obama is as bad as Hitler to outsiders.

    5. Jew
      German
      Volkswagen

    6. Common good before private good.
      Leadership principle.

  11. it’s not an attempt to compare this administration to Nazis.

    Go ahead; you know you want to. We all want to. I know I do.

    Because we’re all racist rat-bagging teafuckers now.

  12. If the government can create 3 million jobs by spending $1 trillion, why don’t they spend $5 trillion, and get rid of unemployment altogether?

    1. I do believe that’s Klugman’s entire argument. The only difference is that he’s dead serious.

    2. Diminishing returns? OTOH, it might just work!

    3. Same reason that if you raise minimum wage to $15 an hour, it reduces poverty. But raising it to $100 an hour doesn’t.

      1. Raising the minimum wage to $15 reduces poverty? How does making people who used to earn $7 to $12 / hour unemployed reduce poverty?

        Wages are increased when worker productivity is increased, not by government diktat.

        1. i beleive that was his point. If the backers of minimum wage really beleived it worked, then why not just raise it to $100/hr. and make us all rich.

      2. With my $12 an hour job, I’ve gradually built up to $20,000 in the bank.

        As opposed to the grand sum of nothing that I’d have if minimum wage was $15, since this company can barely afford its people as-is.

        1. …should have refreshed, didn’t notice that was his point.

          1. I appreciate the anecdote, anyway.

  13. Sheisskopf

  14. Even if it is all true, 250K plus per job is a failure.

    1. Hey, can I use that? Thanks.

  15. As it turns out, when you unpack the numbers, you find that [Christina] Romer and her team didn’t actually count how many people got a job thanks to the stimulus. Instead, the number is a projection that relies on the myth that a dollar of government spending creates up to 2.5 dollars of economic growth. […]

    Kind of like global warming science, except with a bit more rigor.

    1. She should have use 12 dollars as I originally suggested.

      1. In which case, unemployment would, no doubt, be negative by now.

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