Opinion: Obama stimulus spending: $246,436 per new job


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Here’s a new, mind-blasting economic statistic about the $787-billion economic stimulus package assembled by Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California and Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada for President Obama and the longtime, now-former senator from Delaware.

So far, thanks to this stimulus plan, national unemployment has climbed from about 8% to 10%. Vice President Biden often recounts the awful economic mess the Democrats inherited from the party of Lincoln and the brush cutter from Texas.

And Biden says, with considerable candor and a fair amount of understatement, that much work remains to be done to restart the economy. He’s now reduced to hailing as progress the fact that 1 out of 10 U.S. workers is unemployed.


According to its own shovel-ready recovery numbers, the nearly 11-month-old Democratic administration claims to have created 640,329 good ol’ American jobs so far this year by spending $157.8 billion of that stimulus money.

Now, that works out to a cost of $246,436 per job created, according to figures dug up by the eagle-eyed James Pethokoukis over at Reuters.

Total compensation earned by the average American payroll employee during the month of October was $59,867 on an annualized basis, Pethokoukis reports. That’s only 24% of the nearly quarter-million dollars it costs the federal government to create that spot.

Had Obama and Biden simply handed out to unemployed individuals $60,000 as a year’s salary, they could have paid for 2.6 million jobs -- four times as many jobs that have been created. That’s the kind of disastrous return on investment that could cost a banker his bonus.

On the other hand, simply handing out money to nearly 3 million people would have drastically curtailed the nation’s 2009 production of ribbon-cutting photo ops in congressional districts across the land.

[Corrected at 11:55 a.m.: An earlier version of this post said that Nancy Pelosi is a senator. She is speaker of the House of Representatives.]


-- Andrew Malcolm

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