16 November, 2009

Counting jobs the way Chicago counts votes

National Review Online's corner has pointed out that, according to the government's own website, the stimulus bill created 2,873.9 jobs in New Hampshire's "00 Congressional district". It also created jobs in the 6th, 4th, and 27th districts.

This is weird, because if you look at the website you see that they spent over a million dollars in the 4th district, and created all of 0 jobs. Think about it: according to the government's own website, we've spent over a million dollars creating 0 jobs. Not a single one.

It gets weirder yet: legally speaking, New Hampshire has only two Congressional districts, traditionally been numbered 1 and 2. Those appear in the list, too. The first district received 377.8 jobs, and the second received 271.6 jobs. So then you ask yourself: what on earth are they doing that counts .8 and .6 jobs? part-timers? shouldn't it be 1 job, even if it's part-time?

I showed my (Russian) wife, who offered a typical (Russian) insight: Those people always find ways to steal money.

In case it changes in the future, here's an unretouched snapshot: (click for full size)

I hope to God it does change. I guess this is a programming snafu of some sort, but what sort of programming snafu turns 1 job into .6, or reports jobs in districts that don't even exist? Beats me, but New Hampshire ain't alone:

Here in Mississippi, we have all of four Congressional districts, but we've also created jobs, or at least spent money to create jobs even if none was created, in districts 28, 00, 5, 48, 6, and 19.

That 19th district might have transferred from Illinois, whose report includes six fictitious districts, with at least 0.8 jobs in each, but whose 19th district (which really does exist) doesn't show up at all. No jobs for you, guys. That's what you get for voting Republican. ;-) Of course, our 19th district spent $94,000+ to create 0 jobs.

Just remember: this is all former President Bush's fault. The current president continues to insist that his administration is the most transparent, technologically savvy administration, staffed only with people selected for competence (not ideology!) since, like, ever, dude. To the max. The same way his campaign was going to rely on public funding.

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