Junk numbers on jobs

Congressman David Obey is no Rush Limbaugh right-winger, denouncing President Barack Obama at every turn. The Wisconsin Democrat is chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and a key member of the Democratic leadership in Congress.

So when Obey blasts the Obama administration, as he did Tuesday, over the flawed numbers regarding how many jobs the federal stimulus legislation has created, you know there’s more than anti-Obama rhetoric at work.

Obey pointed to mistakes he called “outrageous” and “ludicrous” on recovery.gov, the Web site that supposedly lists the number of jobs created or saved by the stimulus bill. It’s not hard to understand Obey’s anger.

First, an Associated Press story this month demonstrated that the jobs figure on the site was wildly overstated, and the Obama administration subsequently reduced by 60,000 the number of jobs listed on the Web site. Monday it was revealed that some other jobs supposedly created were in more than a dozen congressional districts that don’t exist — in Arizona and other states.

Obey is right. As Congress considers another possible stimulus bill while unemployment tops 10 percent, members of Congress and the American public deserve accurate figures on the number of jobs created — not fictitious claims in nonexistent districts.


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