Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mangled math

I find it interesting that the soon-to-be passed "bi-partisan" jobs bill is being hailed as a victory for the unemployed. This bill is supposed to offer tax exemptions and incentives to companies that hire the unemployed, along with a grab bag of $250 bonus checks for "cash-strapped" seniors on Social Security and more highway dollars.

Unfortunately, I can't wrap my head around this $15 billion package that is supposed to send only 250,000 people back to work.

Get your abacus out while I run through a little math with you. First, take $15,000,000,000 and divide it by 250,000. What do you get? The answer is $60,000. That's how much money it takes to create each job. Sounds like an awfully expensive and wasteful package.

Now, I understand there is a lot of money in there for seniors and highways, but it still doesn't make sense. Why doesn't Congress just give me $60,000 a year to plow my elderly neighbor's driveway (which I've already done three times this winter) and I'll give him $250 for some pocket change to buy some groceries and hard candy.

That sounds like a jobs bill I can believe in.


  1. Let me add one more thing here: I almost certainly am wrong on my math, so I blame the politicians and media for not explaining these bills better. It's impossible to support legislation if they don't do an adequate job of explaining how it will help us and what the ultimate price tag is.

    The Democrats really need to take a hint and start going through health care reform point-by-point.

  2. Hard candy? Nice. A little angry, but I can appreciate that.

  3. At $60,000 per, the rate is one of the cheapest in recent times. Other packages have the number well over $100,000, and some as high as $250,000. But, I think all that math is a moot point.

    Too many people that I've read and heard believe this $15B bill will do little to add to the employment roster. The one-time incentive isn't enough to get an employer interested in participating. There are too many strings attached. Washington has too many open-ended issues for many businesses to move forward, too many unknowns about costs and regulations.

    One wonders why there is money here for "highway projects" when much of the money in the Feb 2009 bill ($784B) has not been spent. The Feb 2009 money was to be for "shovel-ready" projects, including "highway projects" (which never really materialized), but nothing was said about the most recent appropriations.