Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Ted Nugent Op-Ed?!

It is to laugh.

Ted Nugent, the rock 'n roll star from the 70's turned conservative activist and gun nut, has written an op-ed for the Washington Times called "Obama Punks America" in which he spreads the debunked claim that the stimulus cost $287,000 per job. Go on and read it if you like as it takes nothing less than a 5th grade reading level to get through it. But even a 5th grader will tell you that the amount of the stimulus divided by the number of jobs created does not equal the amount each job cost.

[AP, 11/2/09, via Nexis]:

The reality is more complex.
First, the naysayers' calculations ignore the value of the work produced.
Any cost-per-job figure pays not just for the worker, but for material, supplies and that worker's output -- a portion of a road paved, patients treated in a health clinic, goods shipped from a factory floor, railroad tracks laid.
Second, critics are counting the total cost of contracts that will fuel work for months or years and dividing that by the number of jobs produced only to date.
A construction project, for one, may only require a few engineers to get going, with the work force to swell as ground is broken and building accelerates.
Hundreds of such projects have been on the books, in which the full value of the contracts is already counted in the spending totals, but few or no jobs have been reported yet because the work is only getting started.
To flip the equation politically, it's as if the 10-year cost of George W. Bush's big tax cuts were compared with the benefits to the economy that only accrued during the first year.
Third, the package approved by Congress is aimed at more than direct job creation, although employment was certainly central to its promotion and purpose.
Its features include money for research, training, plant equipment, extended unemployment benefits, credit assistance for businesses and more -- spending meant to pay off over time but impossible to judge in a short-term job formula.
Nor do the estimates made Friday include indirect employment already created by the package -- difficult if not impossible to measure.
Nowhere in the editorial does Nugent include the fact that $282 billion in stimulus spending was in the form of tax cuts for the rubes who waste money on his concert tickets, something that would usually have the GOP's nipples get hard, and something they fought to get into the package, but since it was provided by a Democratic president (and a Kenyan at that!) they voted against en masse, but still like to take credit for it.

Interesting that a newspaper would give a guy, who threatened the current President of the United States while he was still a Senator, along with two other Senators in a concert setting while waving machine guns around, an op-ed column to reprise a 21-month old bogus claim. But I don't completely blame this bit of idiocy on Nugent alone. After all, he's citing the Weekly Standard's Jeffrey Anderson, who for some reason chooses to mislead on the numbers and the report he's basing it on. I wonder why?

So, is this the strategy? Are we going to rehash stimulus spending for the next 16 months until the election? Because if so, my guess is that the voters who benefitted from those jobs saved or created will be voting Democratic - all 2.4 to 3.6 million and counting.

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