Liberal math

“Job Losses Could Drown Stimulus.” That’s the headline through which the Washington Post opts to report the latest bad news on the employment front — an increase in the unemployment rate of half a percentage point to 8.1 percent. It’s an odd choice, unless the Post is hoping to create a drumbeat for another massive government spending spree.

The underlying story, by Neil Irwin and Annys Shin, suggests that this is precisely the Post’s intent. We are told that, while last month’s stimulus package was designed to “save or create” 3.5 million jobs, the nation has already lost 4.4 millions jobs since the start of the recessions. In other words, according to the Post’s logic, the economy is shedding jobs faster than the government can “create or save” them. This means, according to a series of economists quoted by the Post, that the government must do more “stimulus.”

The Post’s logic would be unassailable if it were the case that only the government can create jobs. For decades, though, we’ve seen job creation on a massive scale without the use of the extraordinary government programs enacted or contemplated by the Obama administration. Thus, the notion of designing stimulus packages to “save or create,” on a one-for-one basis, jobs lost during a recession would be an absurdity even if the government’s projections of the impact of such packages on employment were other than fictional.

Is the Post’s exploitation of the latest unemployment data the result of liberal bias or ecnonomic ignorance? Perhaps these are the same thing.

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