Press Ignorance of Stimulus Job-Loss Study Leads to Ridiculous Assertion in AP Coverage of Labor's Discontent

Earlier today, NB's Tim Graham noted that the establishment press has given the silent treatment to a study by Timothy Conley of the University of Western Ontario and Bill Dupor of Ohio State University showing that the stimulus plan passed in February 2009 was a major net economic loser. In the first paragraph of the study, the authors revealed their core estimate that  the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act "created/saved 450 thousand government-sector jobs and destroyed/forestalled one million private sector jobs." That's a net loss of 550,000 jobs "destroyed/forestalled."

To test Tim's contention that "Our media only cites studies which estimate the number of jobs Team Obama 'saved or created,'" I did searches on Dupor's last name at the Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times, and got back the following results:

Finally, a Google News search on Dupor's last name at 10:30 p.m. (sorted by date, with duplicates) returned 16 results (it looks like 22, but it's really 16), none of which are establishment press outlets (I guess this post will make 17).

Ignorance of published results can have consequences. In a report on how the "AFL-CIO may reduce support to Democrats," Associated Press reported Sam Hananel relays what is apparently one of labor's objections to how the Obama administration has failed to sufficiently do its bidding:

Unions have been disappointed that Congress has not passed a more ambitious stimulus plan to create jobs, that health care reform didn't go far enough and that Democrats - when they held a majority in Congress - couldn't muster enough votes to pass a bill that would make it easier to organize unions.

So I guess the union guys would have preferred a stimulus plan twice the legislated size, so that the economy could suffer 1.1 million jobs "destroyed/forestalled."

On a more observant note, maybe someone in the union movement will figure out that by artificially preserving many of their state and local jobs for a year or two, the stimulus plan put off the day of reckoning for their governments and worsened their financial situations in the meantime. If the Obama administration and the Pelosi-Reid Congress had done nothing, states would have had to face hard but somewhat more manageable choices in early 2009 instead of even tougher ones in 2011 after the stimulus money was used up.

In other words, the stimulus plan's clear intent and documented success at briefly preserving public-sector jobs led to dire situations such as those which were dumped on governors, many newly-elected, in Wisconsin, Ohio, and elsewhere. These dreadful fiscal circumstances were ripe for serious collective-bargaining reforms which may never have been undertaken by the likes of Badger State Governor Scott Walker or Buckeye State Governor John Kasich in less difficult conditions.

Put more bluntly: The Obama stimulus plan created the conditions which allowed Walker and Kasich to push through legislation altering the union-management playing field. With "friends" like Obama, who needs enemies?

Do I think the union guys will ever figure this out? Nah.

Cross-posted at

Congress Economy Bailouts Stimulus Unemployment Government Agencies Media Bias Debate Bias by Omission Double Standards Political Groups Liberals & Democrats Unions Online Media Google Wire Services/Media Companies Associated Press Los Angeles Times New York Times Washington Post Sam Hananel

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