According to Amanda Carpenter at The Washington Times, Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orzag decided to change the way the Obama administration counts the number of jobs saved or created under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, otherwise known as the economic stimulus package. Instead of determining whether jobs are saved or created, the Obama administration will count “jobs funded.” Apparently, determining whether or not the government spending boondoggle is stimulating job creation is too much of a hassle.
This decision is a play taken straight out of the Department of Justice’s playbook during the Clinton Administration. In 1994, Congress created the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) with the goal of adding 100,000 new police officers to America’s streets by 2000. In far too many cases, local police departments used federal funds to employ currently employed officers instead of hiring additional officers as required by law. Yet, COPS continued to claim that it was making steady progress toward its 100,000 additional officer goal. In response to criticisms of its counting methodology by the Government Accountability Office and Justice Department Inspector General, COPS changed from counting the number new officers hired to counting “officers funded.” This counting gimmick allowed COPS to misleadingly appear committed to adding 100,000 new cops, while it doled out billions of dollars regardless of whether new cops were hired.
Not only did the program fail to reduce crime, but research by the Heritage Foundation has demonstrated that COPS fell far short of its goal of actually adding 100,000 new police officers. No one should be surprised that the economic stimulus is a failure when the Obama administration has to rely on counting gimmicks.