Update: Emperor Still Naked

(Recycling an old post with new data and some new links.)

Just about a year ago, shortly before the inauguration, the incoming Obama economic team issued a (PDF) report, "The Job Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan," advocating passage of the "stimulus" legislation before Congress. Central to the argument was Figure 1, showing their prediction of the unemployment rate with and without the plan (click for original size):


There were plenty of reasons to be skeptical then (see Greg Mankiw in the January 10 NYT, David Harsanyi in the January 30 Denver Post, or this handy collection of links from the Cato Institute.)

But "they won", the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan was passed and signed. Over the past year, some bright person ("Geoff" at Innocent Bystanders) has periodically overlaid actual unemployment data points on the original graph. Geoff's latest article is here, but the graph speaks for itself (click for big version):

[vs. Actual]

Geoff also posts a graph of the absolute employment numbers, and it's even more disheartening.

Some recent "stimulus" news:

  • In the WSJ, William McGurn notes the absence of the word "stimulus" in recent Administration rhetoric, starting with President Obama's advocating what most people call a "second stimulus".

    Not once did he use the word "stimulus." If you search under "speeches and remarks" on the White House Web site, it will tell you that the last time the president used the word "stimulus" in public remarks was in an offhand reference in a speech about clean energy in October. A month before that he used the term once in a speech that was about the stimulus.

    McGurn documents the expunging of the "S-word" from the communications of official Administration spokesmodels.

  • But that's not the only Barackrobatic rhetorical flip. ABC's Jake Tapper points out that the much derided "jobs created or saved" metric that President Obama once thought so vital has been thrown under the bus.

    The Obama administration has taken some heat and mockery for using the nebulous and non-economic term of jobs being "saved or created" by the $787 billion stimulus program.

    So it's gotten rid of it.

    In a little-noticed December 18, 2009 memo from Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag the Obama administration is changing the way stimulus jobs are counted.

    The memo, first noted by ProPublica, says that those receiving stimulus funds no longer have to say whether a job has been saved or created.

    "Instead, recipients will more easily and objectively report on jobs funded with Recovery Act dollars," Orszag wrote.

    Via Allahpundit at Hot Air, who notes that, if anything, this new standard is even phonier than the "jobs created or saved" measure.

  • Also noting the ineffectiveness of the stimulus was this AP story yesterday:

    A federal spending surge of more than $20 billion for roads and bridges in President Barack Obama's first stimulus has had no effect on local unemployment rates, raising questions about his argument for billions more to address an "urgent need to accelerate job growth."

    An Associated Press analysis of stimulus spending found that it didn't matter if a lot of money was spent on highways or none at all: Local unemployment rates rose and fell regardless. And the stimulus spending only barely helped the beleaguered construction industry, the analysis showed.

But I'm sure the Administration's predictions for their other initiatives, like ObamaCare and Cap-n-Trade, are right on the money. What could possibly go wrong?

Last Modified 2012-10-05 5:16 AM EST

I Was Told There Would Be No Spelling

OK, so it's a really tough word, but …

As U.S. Senate candidate Martha Coakley went on the attack Tuesday with a sharply-worded television ad attacking her Republican rival Scott Brown, the rush to production led to a misspelling of the state she hopes to represent in Washington.


At the end of the advertisement, where a candidate must disclose who paid for the ad, the copy read "paid for by Massachusettes (sic) Democratic Party."

Confession: when I have to spell that state's name, I always check it with the Google. ("Did you mean: Massachusetts" "Oh, yeah, guess I did.")

Where Eagles Dare

stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

While I wait for Netflix to send me Inglorious Basterds, The Hangover, Zombieland, or even Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, I decided to see if this 1968 flick held up against my teenage memories. It did, although the seams showed a little more …

It's World War II, and Richard Burton ("Major Smith") leads Clint Eastwood ("Lieutenant Schaffer") and five other teammates to (ostensibly) rescue a captured American general held in a remote Bavarian castle from the clutches of the Wehrmacht. It's a long-shot mission, and it doesn't help when two members of the squad get killed nearly right out of the chute. Will Burton and Eastwood prevail? As the kids say: three guesses, and the first two don't count. This is not one of those movies with deeply flawed heroes ridden with angst about shooting Nazis. Or blowing them up. Or stabbing them. Or … well, you get the idea.

The plot is convoluted, unfortunately to the point of ludicrousness. Don't think about it too hard. (I also read the Alistair MacLean book back then; I seem to recall that it was slightly less far-fetched.) Although the heroes are in nearly non-stop peril, they are aided mightily by the Imperial Stormtrooper-level marksmanship of the Germans, and a seemingly inexhaustible supply of their own (improbably effective) bullets and explosives.

Trivia: the Movie Body Count site lists Where Eagles Dare as the movie where Clint Eastwood's character kills the most people. Yes, there's a website for everything.

Last Modified 2012-10-05 5:16 AM EST