Retreat on Counting Stimulus ‘Created or Saved’ Confuses White House Advisors who Cite Different and Unreliable Estimates

Published: Jan 24, 2010

Devaney Letter to Rep. Issa:  Recovery.gov Giving Up on Displaying ‘Created or Saved’ Count – Will Focus Instead on Jobs Paid for by Taxpayers

WASHINGTON D.C. – Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Darrell Issa today released a letter from Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board Chairman Earl Devaney announcing that Recovery.gov will now report jobs funded rather than “jobs created or saved” on the Administration’s official site counting jobs attributed to the stimulus.

Explaining the change, Chairman Devaney wrote: “Finally, it is important to note that, from an Inspector General’s perspective, the ability to audit jobs funded with Recovery Act money is considerably easier that auditing the more subjective ‘jobs created or saved.’  Recovery.gov will be changed to indicate that the jobs reported by recipients during this most recent reporting period reflect jobs that were funded by the Recovery Act between October 1 and December 31, 2009.  We will also include information on Recovery.gov that will explain how job estimates were calculated in the first reporting period and how they were calculated in the second reporting period.”

Following this change in stimulus counting, White House Advisors appeared confused and offered conflicting claims that the stimulus has done more than run up the deficit and trade private sector jobs for government jobs.

Said White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod today on CNN’s State of the Union:

“Now, the Recovery Act the president passed has created more than — or saved more than 2 million jobs. But against 7 million, you know, that — that is — it is cold comfort to those who still are looking.”

Said White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett today on NBC’s Meet the Press:

“The Recovery Act saved thousands and thousands of jobs. There are schoolteachers and firemen and— and— teachers all across our country, policemen, who have jobs today because of that recovery act.”

Said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs today on Fox News Sunday:

“Just last quarter, we finally saw the first positive economic job growth in more than a year. Largely as a result of the recovery plan that’s put money back into our economy that saved or created 1.5 million jobs.”

Said Rep. Issa in response:

“Even though the unemployment rate is 10%, over 2.8 million Americans have lost their job since passage of the stimulus, and the stimulus watchdog has given up on trying to count jobs ‘created or saved,’ the White House continues to press claims about the impact of the stimulus that are at odds with reality.  These senior advisors continue to wrongly push the discredited economic theory that government can replace the role of small business in creating new jobs.  To stop job losses, this Administration needs to stop the threat of policies like a national energy tax and government health care take over that scare private sector employers away from expanding their businesses and hiring new employees.”

Click here to read Chairman Earl Devaney’s January 20 letter to Rep. Darrell Issa.

Click here to read Rep. Issa’s January 8 letter to Chairman Devaney.

Click here to read Rep. Issa and House Republican Leader John Boehner’s November 13 request to drop the problematic “Created or Saved” metric.

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