The kids over at Fox News have been gleefully reporting that the “$787 billion porkulus package is a failure”. The first reports from the “liberally biased mainstream media” supported the idea, because they cite the White House as the source that says 30,000 jobs have been created due to the package. Both sets of reporting come from data released on Recovery.org, the government’s website for all things stimulus.
Recovery.org exists to provide transparency for spending related to the recovery package. Unfortunately, the media did not read everthing they could see on the transparent website. All of the media outlets (Fox News can’t shoulder this burden alone) are to blame for what we are hearing. The problem isn’t in the writing or even presentation of the information, it is in the lack of research. The website very clearly states that the 30,083 jobs created come from “federal contract spending”, which represents about 8% of the total spend to date.
It gets worse….the first big number to think about is $16 billion. $16 billion is the total value of federal contracts awarded to date. The bigger number is $2.2 billion. $2.2 billion is the amount actually paid out for those contracts.
$2.2 billion for 30,000 jobs. A little different than Hannity’s claims and all of the hand-wringing on CNN. So I figure it is time to do a little “modern” reporting myself. Here goes:
The Stimulus Package is on pace to create over 10,760,000 jobs! The United States set to enter new era of prosperity! Neoconservative business owners demand Obama pays Mexicans to emigrate to fill needed positions!
I can show more math to support my position than Hannity can….
But that is not what the Rational Middle is all about. Many economists last winter were predicting unemployment to top 10%, but the Obama team ignored them and made public a view that unemployment would only top 10% if the stimulus was not passed. My guess, based on the numbers so far, is that the stimulus will eventually directly create or save a little over 1 million jobs by the end of next year.The criticism of the administration because of its failure to come close on the projection is both fair and relevant, but it does not change the need for action or the results of the action taken.
More money has been “spent” for tax benefits as a result of the stimulus bill than for projects (part of the $288 billion tax cut that every Republican in Congress voted against…unless they were Senators from Maine). Over $63 billion has been spent on an extension of entitlement benefits such as unemployment. The retail sectors in hard hit areas like Southern California, Florida, and Southern Nevada are clinging to life thanks to those benefits.
The media has a responsibility to report the facts so that the people can hold their government to account. The media, in its haste to report a big “story” instead of the facts, failed that obligation.
The rational middle wants to be “stimulated” by your commentary….