In campaigning for his $787 billion economic stimulus plan, President Barack Obama often repeated the claim that the plan would "create or save" 3.5 million jobs over its two-year life. But even if Obama's artful hedge of counting a job "saved" as a job "created" is accepted, recent job losses have made the likelihood that the stimulus plan will deliver the president's promised number of jobs remote at best
. In fact, the stimulus plan will have a hard time meeting the much more modest goal of 2.5 million jobs set for the legislation by Democratic economists
in testimony before Congress.
On January 20th, when President Obama took office, the total workforce in the United States numbered approximately 135 million. To reach his goal of 3.5 million jobs, then, President Obama would need to see the number of working Americans rise to about 138.5 million by the end of next year. But since January, nearly 2 million jobs have been lost, meaning that the stimulus bill would have to result in a net gain of just under 6 million jobs to fulfill the president's promise. Furthermore, White House economists said that passage of the stimulus plan would hold the unemployment rate to around seven percent. Yet the current 8.9 percent jobless rate exceeds even the Administration's worst estimate of what unemployment would be if the stimulus was not passed.
Worse still for the Administration, an analysis by the conservative Heritage Foundation, a well-respected think tank, finds that the Obama Administration's economic policies may actually result in net jobs losses, not gains. "Policies like higher tax rates on small businesses, sustained massive budget deficits, doubling the national debt, and the building threat of the government meddling in companies are eroding the foundations of the economy today and for the future," the report says. The Administration does not dispute this conclusion. Rather, the chief of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Christina Romer, told C-SPAN yesterday that the Administration no longer expects any job growth this year or into the beginning of 2010
Predicting the impact of economic policies on jobs numbers or on national economic performance as a whole is admittedly dicey stuff. But that applies equally to the Obama Administration's pre-stimulus claims and to the post-passage criticisms. President Obama could not have known with any certainty how many jobs his plan would "create or save" when he made that claim. Apparently, the Administration was more interested in scoring a political victory for the president than it was in providing Americans with an honest appraisal of the likely impact of the president's policy. It is a pity that it took $787 billion dollars and 2 million lost jobs for the Obama Administration to finally come clean to the American people on the jobs forecast.
Tagged: Barack Obama
, Job losses
, Lost jobs
, Obama administration