“The question to me was, ‘How in God’s name did Obama’s guys come up with these job numbers for us?’ So, being a good accountant I dove into it.”
“I think they used a ouija board.”
That’s from my friend in Massachusetts speaking about the number of jobs that would be saved there as estimated by team Obama. The people in Massachusetts have no idea how they can ever save that number of jobs, we were told….
“They must have just manufactured these numbers in Washington DC….”
By STEVE LeBLANC, Associated Press Writer
State officials overseeing the federal Massachusetts say they have no idea how the White House came up with one key pledge — the promise to save or create 79,000 jobs in the state.program in
They say they’re not even sure how to measure saved jobs — and fear the jobs figure sets an unrealistic yardstick against which the success or failure of the program will be measured.
“The federal estimate of 79,000, we really don’t know what’s behind that, we just plain don’t,” Jeffrey Simon, Director of Infrastructure Investment in Massachusetts, told The Associated Press.
“I’m not saying it’s not 79,000, but I just don’t have any way of knowing that,” he said.
Simon and his counterparts overseeing the distribution of stimulus funds in Massachusetts said concerns about the state jobs numbers were raised at a meeting earlier this month in Washington between state and federal leaders.
Massachusetts Undersecretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzalez also attended the Washington meeting and said other states complained that issuing job estimates undercut the administration’s vow of transparency because it was unclear where the estimates came from.
Gonzalez said he was asked at one point how he might come up with a jobs estimate and pointed federal officials to a state task force report, but cautioned them the estimate was very rough and came with “qualifications all over it.”
He said he was surprised when the state was presented with the estimate of 79,000.
“We have no idea where that number came from and now we’re going to be measured against it,” Gonzalez told the AP. “They haven’t even decided yet how they are going to require that we measure new and retained jobs.”
Job creation has been a key selling point of the $787 billion federal. The Obama administration said they stimulus package will save or create 3.5 million nationwide.
Critics say the numbers are fuzzy, particularly when it comes to saved jobs.
In a one-page explanation on the federal stimulus Web site, the administration said it arrived at the state numbers by using an average of three different methods of estimating job growth.
The first looks at the total working-age population of each state. (If a state accounted for 10 percent of the country’s total working age population, it was allotted 10 percent of the national job impact of the stimulus package.) The second uses a similar method based on 2007 employment records, before the beginning of the current recession.
The administration said the two methods are reasonable because states with larger populations will get a proportionately larger share of tax cuts, education spending and fiscal relief from the stimulus package.