Thursday, September 24, 2009

$787B Stimulus a Success for Government Employment

Remember the $787 billion so-called stimulus package (the formal name is "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009") that was passed back in February, under a Presidential threat of "catastrophe"?

Well it has indeed stimulated something: government employment.

Stimulus funds boost number of federal jobs
(9/23/09 USA Today) [emphasis is mine]

"WASHINGTON — The $787 billion economic recovery package also is stimulating growth in the federal government as agencies hire thousands of workers and spend millions of dollars to oversee and implement the package, according to government records and spokesmen.

"Fourteen of the top federal agencies responsible for spending under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act say they've hired about 3,000 workers with stimulus money. That's helped fuel the continued growth of the federal government, which increased by more than 25,000 employees, or 1.3%, since December 2008, according to the latest quarterly report. During that time, the ranks of the nation's unemployed increased by nearly 4 million, Labor Department statistics show.

"Overall, there are about 2 million federal workers, the data show."

Their tasks?

"The new workers are tackling such tasks as managing stimulus-funded contracts, processing Social Security benefit claims and investigating possible cases of fraud and waste. They're overseeing about $288 billion in tax cuts and nearly $500 billion in federal spending, much of it in the form of transfers to state governments for education, health care and jobless benefits."

And this is just "federal". Starting October, (which VP Joe Biden oversees) will start posting "job gains" in state and local level. Caveat emptor: reporting entities are not required to distinguish between the jobs created and the jobs "saved". They are to guess how many jobs would have been lost if it were not for the stimulus money.

Much like the Bureau of Labor Statistics does every month with their Birth/Death model.

U.S. to Post Reports on Stimulus Jobs Online
(9/23/09 Wall Street Journal) [emphasis is mine]

"WASHINGTON -- The administration next month will begin posting online reports on the number of jobs created and saved by the first tranche of funding in the economic-stimulus plan, part of an effort to ensure transparency in the administration of the program.

"But a Government Accountability Office report on Wednesday warned that the figures -- which would be supplied by recipients under the $787 billion program, including state and local governments -- might not be complete or totally accurate.

"Recipients won't be asked to differentiate between jobs created and jobs saved, officials said. They will have to give their best guess as to whether a job would have been lost had it not been for stimulus funding. They will also be allowed to use their own accounting methods, subject to federal government audits that are still being designed, said Recovery Act Implementation Senior Advisor Ed DeSeve."

I started thinking about a light bulb joke involving government officials and employees. I found several on the net. Here's my favorite so far:

Q: How many bureaucrats does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

A: Two. One tells the public that everything possible is already being done, and the other screws the new bulb into the water faucet.


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