On Measuring Success by the Money You Spend


It seems that the Obama Administration will start to measure the “success” of the stimulus (the “recovery and reinvestment act”) the same way the Bush Administration used to brag about the “success” of their tax cuts. As AP’s Brett Blackledge reported last night (emphasis added):

WASHINGTON – The White House has abandoned its controversial method of counting jobs under President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus, making it impossible to track the number of jobs saved or created with the $787 billion in recovery money.

Despite mounting a vigorous defense of its earlier count of more than 640,000 jobs credited to the stimulus, even after numerous errors were identified, the Obama administration now is making it easier to give the stimulus credit for hiring. It’s no longer about counting a job as saved or created; now it’s a matter of counting jobs funded by the stimulus.

That means that any stimulus money used to cover payroll will be included in the jobs credited to the program, including pay raises for existing employees and pay for people who never were in jeopardy of losing their positions.

Yes, it’s a lot easier doing cost-benefit analysis when you don’t have to worry about measuring the benefits. Have I told you recently about how much money I’ve spent on my kids–their college applications and visits, their ballet lessons, their sports programs, and why, even their stylish wardrobes?… I must be a really successful parent!

And on my dogs? I don’t think I’ve yet told you about my newest dog (adopted him 3 1/2 months ago), but let me give you a hint about how great he is…

And if you want a successful marriage, start with an engagement ring like this one. Hey, it’s from Costco even!

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