Patterico's Pontifications

10/12/2012

Fact Checking the Fact Checkers

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:30 am

The AP:

RYAN: “Look at just the $90 billion in stimulus the vice president was in charge of overseeing — this $90 billion in green pork to campaign contributors and special interest groups.”

THE FACTS: Dismissing an entire package of energy stimulus grants and loans as “green pork” ignores the help that was given to people to make their homes more energy efficient, grants to public entities constructing high speed rail lines and tax credits to manufacturers to install equipment fostering cleaner energy.

To be sure, there were notable failed investments, such as $528 million to the politically connected and now-bankrupt solar power company Solyndra. But Ryan’s claim made it sound like every penny went down the drain.

More broadly, economists are nearly universal in saying Obama’s $800 billion-plus stimulus passed in early 2009 helped create both public-sector and private-sector jobs, even if they fell short of what sponsors had hoped. Douglas Elmendorf, director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, estimated the stimulus saved or created more than 3 million jobs.

Put aside for one moment the annoyance one experiences in watching Big Media repeatedly use the phrase “saved or created.” What really bothers me is the omission of critical context from the above passage. I have helpfully hinted at that context by bolding certain parts of the passage. I’ll wait here until you have figured it out.

See the problem? If you divide 800 billion by 3 million, you get the number 266,666. So if we spent $800 billion to get 3 million jobs, that means taxpayers spent $266,666 per job.

That anyone could ever possibly tout this as a success of any kind boggles the mind.

The piece does catch how Biden lied on certain topics, though, such as his claim that only people making a million dollars or more would see a tax increase. How many times has Obama said he wants to raise taxes on households making over $250,000? (A figure slightly less than the $266,666 the administration spent on each job “created or saved,” I might add.) I would wager those of you in households making between $250,000 and $1 million noticed this prevarication.

Let’s see if that not-so-little lie gets spread beyond that one piece. It’s a pretty damned significant lie.

We need to remember: fact check the fact checkers. By assuming the title of “fact checker” they don a mantle of objectivity that they haven’t earned. We need to strip off their disguise and reveal them for the partisan hacks they really are.

47 Responses to “Fact Checking the Fact Checkers”

  1. “See the problem? If you divide 800 billion by 3 million, you get the number 266,666. So if we spent $800 billion to get 3 million jobs, that means taxpayers spent $266,666 per job.”

    Why would you divide the entire amount by 3 million when only a portion of the package went directly toward job support (thanks to Republicans)?

    The actual “spending” was more like 550 billion.

    And the actual figure for employment was more like 3.6 million.

    That makes it $152K per job.

    Nice job checking the fact checkers…FAIL.

    Now go ahead and tell us why the 3.6 million people who were employed by this infusion should be attacked?

    Tell us why Republicans don’t think it was “worth it” to save their jobs, their families, etc., esp. when it was Republicans who ran up the biggest bills in US history to go to war and rebuild foreign countries and employ defense contractors instead of investing the money in the US?

    Here’s another “Fact Check Fact Checkers” assignment for you: How much has the war in Iraq cost PER JOB?

    Cost: estimated to be 1T dollars and counting.
    # employed: ?? Certainly not 3.6 million.

    And don’t forget this part:

    # Killed in war: 100K Iraqi’s, over 4K US.

    P. Tillman (fcbc8b)

  2. And the actual figure for employment was more like 3.6 million.

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

    JD (9ace9f)

  3. The Ill One has us believe that he gives a rat’s “a” about dead Iraqis. No stats or crocodile tears over the casualties in the “war of necessity” that his hero Barry-O amped up and let flounder. What a tool.

    Jack Klompus (3b3713)

  4. “LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL”

    I wouldn’t laugh at the host’s obvious FAIL if you want to retain posting privileges around here.

    P. Tillman (fcbc8b)

  5. The CBO study that claimed job creation from the stimulus did not actually … count any jobs.

    Instead, it assumed a certain rate of job creation per dollar spent, tracked dollars spent, and viola! added up the assumed jobs.

    It was the largest assemblage of circular logic seen in an economics study to date.

    SPQR (768505)

  6. That is too complicated for illman, SPQR.

    JD (9ace9f)

  7. “That is too complicated for illman, SPQR.”

    Uh, fools, your friendly neighborhood Host also says that 3 million jobs were created by the stimulus… is this too complicated for him as well to understand?

    Don’t you even read what he writes?

    P. Tillman (fcbc8b)

  8. SPQR – I liked where Biden claimed their green energy investments had performed better than private investment.

    JD (9ace9f)

  9. JD, at more than 3/4trs of a million per job created. By DOE numbers.

    SPQR (768505)

  10. “Uh, fools, your friendly neighborhood Host also says that 3 million jobs were created by the stimulus… is this too complicated for him as well to understand?

    Don’t you even read what he writes?

    Comment by P. Tillman — 10/12/2012 @ 8:21 am “

    Another incompetent lie. Patterico did not say that 3 million jobs were created by the stimulus.

    SPQR (768505)

  11. To expand SPQR’s point, Patterico is not claiming the 3 million jobs figure is accurate, he’s saying that even if you accept the terms of the fact-checker that the $800BN produced (or saved) that number of jobs, EVEN THEN that’s colossal failure.

    cnh (3b3713)

  12. Sometimes I think that Patterico hires these buffoonish trolls to drive up the comment counts and page views.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  13. CBS radio was doing post debate commentary, the CBS fact checker on Ryan’s comment on the solvency of the Social security “trust fund” stated repeatedly and admantantly that social security was absolutely fiscally sound.

    Joe-Dallas (ea8609)

  14. “To expand SPQR’s point, Patterico is … saying that even if you accept the terms of the fact-checker that the $800BN produced (or saved) that number of jobs…”

    Which. He. Did.

    P. Tillman (fcbc8b)

  15. P.Tillman, so you can’t read english? No surprise.

    Bigots like you really are not educated.

    SPQR (768505)

  16. As for the soundness of social security, the government operates on accounting principles that would be illegal for a pension fund. The SS trustees report for 2012, addressed directly to Joe Biden in fact, as President of the Senate, advanced the date for exhaustion of the trust funds by two years over the last report.

    But the bottom line is that social security is now taking billions of dollars from the general fund. By definition, it is not “sound” given that.

    SPQR (768505)

  17. “Which. He. Did.”

    Are you saying Patterico DID accept the fact-checker’s terms? There is a difference between accepting a claim as fact and accepting a claim for the purposes of argument. Patterico’s post is an example of the latter. One of the context clues you could have used to discover this was Patterico’s exasperation with the “jobs saved or created” phrase.

    cnh (3b3713)

  18. ___________________________________________

    Bigots like you really are not educated.

    That goes with the territory…

    dailycaller.com, April 2012:

    Yet another new survey shows that Republican supporters know more about politics and political history than Democrats. On eight of 13 questions about politics, Republicans outscored Democrats by an average of 18 percentage points, according to a new Pew survey titled “Partisan Differences in Knowledge.”

    The Pew survey adds to a wave of surveys and studies showing that GOP-sympathizers are better informed, more intellectually consistent, more open-minded, more empathetic and more receptive to criticism than their fellow Americans who support the Democratic Party.

    The widest partisan gap in the survey came in at 30 points when only 46 percent of Democrats — but 76 percent of Republicans —- correctly described the GOP as “the party generally more supportive of reducing the size of federal government.”

    The widest difference that favored Democrats was only 8 percent, when 59 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of Democrats recognized the liberal party as “more [supportive] of reducing the defense budget.”

    …Pew’s data suggests that the Democrats’ low average rating likely is a consequence of its bipolar political coalition, which combines well-credentialed post-graduate progressives who score well in quizzes with a much larger number of poorly educated supporters, who score badly. In contrast, the Republican party coalition is more consistent, and has few poorly educated people and fewer post-graduates.

    Pew’s new study echoes the results of many other reports and studies that show GOP supporters are better educated, more empathetic and more open to criticism than Democrats. A March 12 Pew study showed that Democrats are far more likely that conservatives to disconnect from people who disagree with them.

    A March Washington Post poll showed that Democrats were more willing to change their views about a subject to make their team look good. For example, in 2006, 73 percent of Democrats said the GOP-controlled White House could lower gas prices, but that number fell by more than half to 33 percent in 2012 once a Democrat was in the White House.

    Mark (6d5e0d)

  19. Biden brazenly lied about voting for the Iraq operation. And equally brazen was his lie about blaming Obama deficits on Iraq war costs. Basic math is beyond the son of a Welsh coal miner.

    SPQR (97627e)

  20. That makes it $152K per job.

    illman, even using your calculations, taking money from people who make less than $100,000 to pay for jobs paying $152,000 is not even good by Repub, fat cat, hail to the rich calculations.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  21. Yet another new survey shows that Republican supporters know more about politics and political history than Democrats. On eight of 13 questions about politics, Republicans outscored Democrats by an average of 18 percentage points, according to a new Pew survey titled “Partisan Differences in Knowledge.”

    Waitaminnit. Pew came up with that result?! I’m astonished. Flabbergasted. There must be something wrong. I’m almost tempted to challenge your veracity, or that of the Daily Caller. Surely either you or DC are making this up.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  22. Note for the slow: I’m not challenging the reported result, which doesn’t surprise me at all, but the report that Pew came up with it. I would never have expected that.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  23. illman, even using your calculations, taking money from people who make less than $100,000 to pay for jobs paying $152,000 is not even good by Repub, fat cat, hail to the rich calculations.

    Who said anything about these jobs paying $152K? I doubt they pay anything like that amount. This is the government, after all. Par for that course is that the alleged beneficiaries of any program would be far better off if the money spent on them were simply divided among them in cash.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  24. Uh, fools, your friendly neighborhood Host also says that 3 million jobs were created by the stimulus

    No, he didn’t. Reading for comprehension just isn’t your strong suit, is it?

    Patterico said that the AP claimed 3 million jobs were created or saved. That’s not the same thing as 3 million jobs created. Do you see the difference?

    Chuck Bartowski (11fb31)

  25. Patterico, there’s far more wrong with the excerpt you cited than you had time to note.

    SPQR has already pointed out that the CBO figure of 3 million jobs “created or saved” has no foundation.

    A far greater problem:

    Dismissing an entire package of energy stimulus grants and loans as “green pork” ignores the help that was given to people to make their homes more energy efficient, grants to public entities constructing high speed rail lines and tax credits to manufacturers to install equipment fostering cleaner energy.

    How are the items listed distinguishable from “green pork”? Especially the billions poured down the “high speed rail” toilet.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  26. Patterico said that the AP claimed 3 million jobs were created or saved. That’s not the same thing as 3 million jobs created. Do you see the difference?

    More to the point, Patterico said that the AP claimed 3 million jobs were created or saved. That’s not the same thing as “Patterico said that 3 million jobs were created or saved”.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  27. To expand on #26 for the benefit of the slow: “help that was given to people to make their homes more energy efficient” is another way of saying “subsidies given to the makers and installers of home energy efficiency devices and schemes”, and “tax credits to manufacturers to install equipment fostering cleaner energy” is another way of saying “subsidies to the manufacturers of such equipment”, i.e. Solyndra et al. Who, of course, were expected to kick back an appropriate amount to the Ds.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  28. http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/joe-biden-to-israel-get-used-to-iran-nuclear-weapons/question-146013/

    Monday, September 1, 2008, 12:28 PM

    “Barack Obama’s presidential running-mate Joseph Biden told Israeli officials that they need to accept the idea Iran will acquire nuclear weapons.

    Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, visiting Israel several years ago, told Israeli officials diplomacy and sanctions would be futile against Iran.

    On Monday Israel’s Army Radio reported details of the comments Biden made when he met with ‘senior Israeli officials behind closed doors.’

    Reportedly Biden told the officials he opposed ‘opening an additional military and diplomatic front’ against Iran.

    ‘Israel will have to reconcile itself with the nuclearization of Iran,’ Army Radio quoted Biden as telling the Israelis.

    Army Radio said that at that time Israeli officials were shocked by Biden’s comments.

    Within Israel, a consensus across the political spectrum has developed on the Iran matter. Iran’s president Ahmnadinejad has stated that he will wipe Israel off the map, making clear his use weapons (sic) of mass destruction against the Jewish state.

    Biden has been an ardent supporter of the state of Israel in the Senate. His Selection by Barack Obama was seen as an effort to shore up support with the U.S. Jewish community.

    Obama has given mixed signals on the Iran threat. During the Democratic primary he argued for direct negotiations with Iran. He has avoided making any suggestion the U.S. should take military action against Iran.

    Last Monday Obama said he would continue to use diplomatic means to stop Iran’s nuclear program.”

    Hawkins (1fc204)

  29. I found it interesting that Biden claimed that Obama had spoken with “Bibi” more than any other leader. All that means is that he did not speak with anyone else either. Alsor the word should not have bee “spoke with” but insulted. Consider Obama’s leaving Mr. Netanyahu alone and making him leave by the back door.

    Sabba Hillel (eae252)

  30. I bet he met with union leaders more than Bibi.

    JD (9ace9f)

  31. Comment by Milhouse — 10/12/2012 @ 10:02 am

    Actually, Pew – like a blind squirrel – occasionally finds an acorn.
    IIRC, they actually did a study on Rush listeners, and found that they are really a pretty smart group, with all the attributes that Rush gives them credit for –
    completely unlike the stereotype advanced by the msm/Left (Redundancy Alert!).

    AD-Restore the Republic/Obama Sucks! (b8ab92)

  32. Actually, in the case of Solyndra, the IRS claims that the whole purpose of Solyndra was to lose money to create a tax advantage for the main backer of Solyndra, Obama money bundler George Kaiser.

    So basically, an Obama insider was trying to create a big tax break for himself.

    And Obama shills have been attacking Romney’s tax rate?

    SPQR (768505)

  33. Actually, Pew – like a blind squirrel – occasionally finds an acorn.

    Blind squirrels like acorns, and are constantly looking for them, they’re just not good at it. How does that describe Pew? Pew is very good at what it does, but what it does is not look for acorns. That it should nonetheless one day find one is therefore astonishing.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  34. If you divide 800 billion by 3 million, you get the number 266,666. So if we spent $800 billion to get 3 million jobs, that means taxpayers spent $266,666 per job.

    That anyone could ever possibly tout this as a success of any kind boggles the mind.

    If Romney and Ryan don’t point out things like this, why should the AP be expected to?

    Does anybody?

    Politicians love to talk about jobs created (or protected by tax rebates, or customs duties)

    In the debate Biden quoted some letter Ryan had sent to him a few years ago which talked this kind of talk about jobs created and please send a little to Wisconsin. He did this too, a little.

    Paul Ryan said: On two occasions, we — we — we advocated for constituents who were applying for grants.

    Biden’s response was another of his chuckles.

    REP. RYAN: That’s what we do. We do that for all constituents who are — (inaudible) — for grants.

    VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: I love that. I love that. This is such a bad program, and he writes me a letter saying — writes the Department of Energy a letter saying, the reason we need this stimulus — it will create growth and jobs. He — his words.

    And now he’s sitting here looking at me — and by the way, that program — again, investigated — what the Congress said was, it was a model: less than four-tenths of 1 percent waste or fraud in the program. And all this talk about cronyism — they investigated, investigated; did not find one single piece of evidence. I wish he would just tell — be a little more candid.

    This goes on over and over again without contradiction or dispute.

    Well, you can say, maybe the AP should be better than the candidates and point out the whole thing is horribly inefficient in terms of creating jobs. It’s waste by definition.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  35. Simple transcript of the Vice Presidential debate:
    between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan, October 11, 2012:

    http://www.npr.org/2012/10/11/162754053/transcript-biden-ryan-vice-presidential-debate

    Audio is available too on that site.

    Transcript with time stamps, optional full video, and 20 items of fact checking or the addition of supplementary facts by the New York Times

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/10/11/us/politics/20121011-vice-presidential-debate-biden-ryan.html?ref=politics#/?annotation=ccd9007e3

    On the page, you can jump to various points and start playing from there.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  36. It would’ve been better to have GIVEN (by lottery or something) $25,000 to 30 million out of work people than to have PI$$ed the money away by giving it to : PEOPLE WHO’RE ALREADY RICH.

    Let’s tax the rich who made money/stole money from the bailout. Better yet; have them pay it back.

    BTW; If anyone thinks that Romney’s not also going to do this sort of thing is living in a dream world.

    He’ll get more (maybe) put into the pot for the regular folks but it will still be government insiders that get the gravy. It’s the system not necessarily him but what’s the difference.

    The say they can’t cut spending and yet what they do cut hurts those out of work and helps those who’re already millionaires. Anyone wonder why we’ve got a cynical view of rich people and the government?

    It applies across party lines. The only difference every four years is a different group of scavengers gets in line for the goodies. This may be the last group to get a shot at all the dough so it will get kinda ridiculous.

    These next few years are gonna look like a mob blowout. That’s when the mob takes over a company because the owner borrowed money from them or gambled with them and now owes more than he can pay.

    1st they order a lot of stuff from the vendors (on credit)

    2nd they start selling it for less than cost.(cash sales only please)

    3rd after they’ve sold everything including the store and the fixtures, they leave the owner to file for bankruptcy leaving the vendors with nothing and the guy that borrowed the money/gambled with at least a lot of civil court time fighting judgments and seizures of his personal stuff (that’s if the mob left him any) and a potential criminal charge.

    This is what Obama and the Democrats (some of them) were aiming for; the destruction of the good name and faith in the US.

    And they now will get to watch the Republicans get the blame for everything that goes bad. (notice where Obama is going to live; off the mainland)

    Buy durable goods, real estate, useful or desirable personal property cause when the prices start to rise, that dollar won’t be worth wiping your ass with.

    Jcw46 (b4329c)

  37. “So if we spent $800 billion to get 3 million jobs…”

    No we spent 800 billion to do a lot of things, including research.

    1.4% of its Recovery Act clean tech investments are losers.

    Report of the Independent Consultant’s Review with Respect to the Department of Energy Loan and Loan Guarantee Portfolio

    http://assets.nationaljournal.com/pdf/120210_DOELGPreport.pdf

    sleeeepy (b5f718)

  38. Shorter sleeeeepy: We only poured a few billion dollars down the drain.

    Icy (7a4103)

  39. We spent stimulus money to do research … that’s not helping sleeepy. It was supposed to be an economic stimulus, not Democratic and Whacky Enviro pork.

    That’s in part why it failed utterly.

    SPQR (32a911)

  40. Oh, and by the DOE’s numbers, the green programs created jobs at the cost of 3/4trs of a million dollars per.

    SPQR (32a911)

  41. ____________________________________________

    (notice where Obama is going to live; off the mainland)

    Merely another facet of his limousine liberalism.

    He really should talk the talk, walk the walk, and go move to a place loaded down with wonderful liberals, with dyed-in-the-wool Democrats. He should move to a city like Detroit or any other community where overwhelming numbers — huge numbers — of residents vote loyally and blindly for liberals/Democrats.

    Mark (6d5e0d)

  42. Slurpy is cuter when it is passed out.

    JD (43ce10)

  43. narciso – Lucy(Iran), you just have to trust me Charlie Brown, I’m not going to pull the football away again this time (as my centrifuges keep operating and I keep getting closer to a bomb)

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  44. fresh from Benghazi
    teh paleomedia
    slouches toward cliff

    Colonel Haiku (dc1b32)


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