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The White House recently claimed that about 640,000 jobs have been saved or created as a result of the $787 billion stimulus package. Many have questioned the accuracy of this number, and for good reason.
Faulty reporting appears to be pervasive in the data used to make the claim. Jim Scarantino, of NewMexico.Watchdog.org, first broke the story that the transparency site for the stimulus package (Recovery.gov) was reporting congressional districts that did not exist in his home state. These phantom congressional districts were prominently displayed in the state summary of districts that had saved or created the most jobs.
Cascade Policy Institute’s investigation showed that Recovery.gov reported Oregon to have nine phantom congressional districts. These Oregon phantom districts created or saved 15 jobs, at a cost to taxpayers of almost $5 million.
A quick look at reported jobs created in Oregon by the $787 billion stimulus package turned up more inaccuracies. $397,761 spent to save 205 jobs at the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency was actually spent to give pay raises to staff. 200 jobs supposedly created by a taxiway construction project for the Coos County Airport District was really only 20 jobs.
Further review of reported jobs created or saved likely will have similar results. There is no benefit in having transparency when the data isn’t worth the paper it is reported on.