Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Recovery Act: Success factors eased

The Associated Press is reporting that the White House has changed the metric to gauge success of the $787B Stimulus package passed earlier this year. The change is "no longer about counting a job as save or created; now it's a matter of counting jobs funded by stimulus" (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34830451/ns/business-stocks_and_economy/). The determination of "funded by stimulus" is whether or not stimulus money is used to cover payroll and includes if the money was used for any bonuses or pay raises to keep employees. I thought Congress needed to pass the Recovery Act to ensure unemployment wouldn't top 8% and it would save or create 3.5 million jobs by year end. Unemployment is above 10%, higher in other areas of the country, and the White House claimed it saved or created 650,000 jobs but cannot accurate account for that figure.

Instead of admitting failure of the Recovery Act by the White House, the White House has changed the end zone. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said, "It is troubling that the administration is changing the rules and further inflating the Recovery Act's impact and masking the failure of the stimulus to product sustainable economic growth or real job creation" (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34830451/ns/business-stocks_and_economy/). Tom Gavin, a spokesman for the White House Office of Management and Budget, said, "We are trying to make it as easy and simple for the funding recipients" (http://money.cnn.com/2010/01/11/news/economy/stimulus_job_counts/). The lack of accountability by the White House is alarming.

Does this make sense? Are we, as a society, to sit idly by and allow the White House to change the metrics to gauge the success of the Recovery Act? Or is this another veil attempt at the White House to mask a serious flaw in the Recovery Act? Why cannot White House admit failure of the Recovery Act based on the success factors originally set forth?