Old and busted: Jobs “saved or created.” New hotness: Jobs “supported.” In attempting to advance the argument for Barack Obama’s new jobs stimulus plan, the White House has decided to create a new term that has, er, even less meaning than their previous measure:
The American Jobs Act Will Support Nearly 400,000 Education Jobs—Preventing Layoffs and Allowing Thousands More to Be Hired or Rehired: The President’s plan will more than offset projected layoffs, providing support for nearly 400,000 education jobs—enough for states to avoid harmful layoffs and rehire tens of thousands of teachers who lost their jobs over the past three years.
How exactly did the White House come up with its new metric? Chuck Blahous gives us a detailed analysis of exactly how they crafted this measure to be, well, unmeasurable:
To start the process of estimating educator jobs at risk, the Administration refers to a June, 2011 paper by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (a left-of-center think tank). This paper quantifies recent and projected shortfalls in state budgets.
The Administration then makes various assumptions about how the projected shortfalls would be filled. In effect, they assume first that shortfalls would be filled by a combination of tax increases and spending reductions, and then that spending cuts would be applied proportionally across all categories including education. As the Administration materials state, “These spending reduction numbers were then converted into estimates of educator jobs at risk based on estimates of average teacher compensation by state. These calculations implied that, if spending reductions had their full negative impact on education staffing, up to 280,000 educator jobs across the country would be at risk in the 2011-2012 school year.”
The Administration then points to $30 billion in spending contained in the proposed American Jobs Act. The purpose of this spending, as specified in the bill text, is to “prevent teacher layoffs and support the creation of additional jobs in public early childhood, elementary, and secondary education in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years.”