At the recent media celebration of Barack Obama's first 100 days as President, Barack Obama made the bold claim that he created or saved over 150,000 jobs.
This budget builds on the steps we’ve taken over the last 100 days to move this economy from recession to recovery and ultimately to prosperity.
We began by passing a Recovery Act that has already saved or created over 150,000 jobs and provided a tax cut to 95 percent of all working families.Source
This would be wonderful news, if it were true. Unfortunately, no one seems to be able to figure out where he got these numbers from. They just don't seem to add up to the facts.
So where do they get away with a number like that?
Actually, I thought this was easy. The administration has claimed that ARRA (“the stimulus bill”) will “save or create” 3.3 million jobs in 2 years. So I thought perhaps what they were doing was taking the date of signing, Feb. 17, computing how much of two years had passed (71/730 ~= 9.7%) and … well, that doesn’t work, because on a pro-rated basis they would get to claim 321,000 jobs.
I thought then maybe he had specific numbers. I recall him saying that he was told Caterpillar would call back the 20,000 in layoffs it had originally called for. But that doesn’t work out either, because Caterpillar is still laying off. Initial filings for unemployment insurance have risen through the first 100 days, though today’s number is a hopeful step downward.
Of course, no one will ever know the difference. The media wouldn’t dare challenge Obama with any difficult follow-up questions. Not one reporter asked president Obama to corroborate this claim.