Remember that meaningless stat from the early days of the Obama presidency? It meant nothing back then — there’s no way of quantifying the number of Americans who weren’t fired — and it means nothing now.
That hasn’t prevented Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Jason Furman from boasting yesterday on the White House blog:
The [American] Recovery [and Reinvestment] Act [of 2009] by itself, saved or created about 6 million job-years, where a job-year is defined as one full-time job for one year. This translates to an average of 1.6 million jobs a year for four years through the end of 2012. This estimate is within the range of estimates provided by the Congressional Budget Office and other outside organizations. [Emphasis added]
Yesterday marked the fifth anniversary of the signing of that law, better known as Obama’s economic “stimulus.” And what better way to celebrate the return of a term bereft of meaning than to coin a new one: “job-year.”
Orwellianisms aside, Furman’s account conveniently omits some inconvenient truths concerning the stimulus, among them that unemployment has remained stubbornly high. If we’re going to stroll down Memory Lane, perhaps Furman could try to explain Obama’s upside-down threat that the unemployment rate would rise above 8% unless the nearly trillion-dollar stimulus were passed into law. In fact, upon the signing of the law, the rate promptly rose above that cap and remained above it by as much as full percentage point through September 2011.