The Obama administration released the first hard numbers on how many jobs their $787 billion stimulus package has created or saved on Recovery.gov today. The number: 30,383 jobs from roughly $16 billion worth of stimulus contracts awarded directly by federal agencies.
Crunching the numbers, that comes to $533,000 per job “saved or created.” To put those 30,383 jobs in perspecitve, consider that the U.S. economy lost 263,000 net jobs just last month and has lost 3.6 million net jobs since President Barack Obama was sworn into office.
But the administration also claims that federal contractor spending is just one portion of the overall stimulus “buckshot.” Last month at the Brookings Institute, Vice President Joe Biden claimed that White House computer models showed their stimulus plan had already saved between 500,000 and 750,000. And just how accurate are these White House economic models? Well, when the White House was pitching its plan to the American people, White House economic adviser Jared Bernstein wrote a report claiming the stimulus would keep unemployment under a peak of 8%. And what have actual Bureau of Labor and Statistics shown? A a 26-year record high of 9.8% unemployment rate.
So what does Bernstein have to say about the stimulus now? Associated Press reports:
Jared Bernstein, the chief economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, said it was too early to draw conclusions from the data “but the early indications are quite positive.”
Heritage fellow J.D. Foster explains where Bernstein’s fancy model went wrong:
The Keynesian stimulus theory fails for the simple reason that it is only half a theory. It correctly describes how deficit spending can raise the level of demand in part of the economy, and ignores how government borrowing to finance deficit spending automatically reduces demand elsewhere. Exculpatory allusions to idle saving simply do not wash in a modern economy supported by a modern financial system. Deficit spending does not create real purchasing power and so it cannot increase total demand in the economy. Deficit spending can only shift the pattern of demand toward government-centric preferences.