About Those Jobs Promised Yesterday

Clearly one of the assumptions on which the Obama administration and Congress are promulgating policy is that the American people have short memories. How else to explain President Obama’s declaration yesterday that that his administration would redouble its spending priorities to “save or create” 600,000 jobs:

WASHINGTON – Eager to show action on the ailing economy, President Barack Obama promised Monday to speed federal money into hundreds of public works projects this summer, vowing that 600,000 jobs will be created or saved.

Setting aside the mindless and nebulous concept of “save or create”, it is useful to remember that the administration has sold this fraud to voters before, as recently as a month ago. As I noted in April, the President’s budget assumptions bore no resemblance to the assumptions his Treasury Department was using to determine the relative health of the nation’s banking system. For example, in the famous bank stress tests conducted by Czar Geithner, the Treasury used a best/worst case range on unemployment of 8.3% – 10.3%. As Friday’s unemployment data showed, the economy is within less than one point of the worst case scenario envisioned for the nation’s banks. No wonder the Obama administration promised to cram 600,000 jobs into a three month period. As with the deficit, these promises and pronouncements are reaching unsustainable levels (to put it politely).

At some point in the political dialogue a reasonable person must ask if the truth is being told. Certainly the conservative side of the political blogosphere has weighed in on this discussion. Given the level of spending and borrowing, the potential costs of failure of the President’s policies (not just political costs) and the sheer number of people at risk in the event of such a failure, the stakes are enormous. One would think that Democrats and liberals are somewhere contemplating the consequences of this wager. While there is presently a wide divergence between the President’s personal popularity and the the popularity of his policies, I can’t help but think that if the economy doesn’t turn quickly his personal popularity will move more in the direction of his policy approval: down.

An additional risk for the President is the possibility that the electorate will experience a Hans Christian Andersen moment when some innocent party notes the obvious, that the president’s policies and promises are not only patently wrong but also duplicitous.

Note: William McGurn has some related thoughts on this in The Wall Street Journal

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