Breaking News: Stimulus Saves Jobs (for Only $250K Per Job!)
Hey, FTC, get with it. You're missing the real fraud.
As billions of dollars from the economic stimulus plan pour through the U.S. economy, members of Congress, the administration and regulatory agencies are increasingly worried about the risks of fraud.
Earl Devaney told Congress on Thursday the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board he chairs is investigating those who may have misappropriated stimulus money.
His board has "forwarded more than 100 matters to various IGs (inspector generals to ensure heightened scrutiny of specific procurements that board staff has identified as potentially problematic.
"We've got about nine cases in various U.S. attorneys offices," he added. "I know from talking to them that they're very interested in sending some very loud signals early."
The Federal Trade Commission, too, has monitored scams where people have misrepresented their connections to the stimulus in order to convince people to hand over money or sensitive financial information.
It has gotten individuals to dismantle websites promising to help people get money from the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for household bills or, even, "leisure travel," FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz told the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. He described the individuals as con artists and hucksters.
Like I said, I think we know who the fraudsters are here. If you expected some different result from this as opposed to every single government promise that has come before it, I grieve for you. Really.
Case in point:
White House economists said Thursday that the Obama administration's recovery efforts have saved or created more than 1 million jobs, an estimate that underscored a cautiously optimistic forecast about the direction of the economy.
President Barack Obama has promised that his $787 billion stimulus plan will create or save 3.5 million jobs by the end of next year. But the economy has fared worse than the White House predicted when it pitched the jobs plan and officials have tried to beat back criticism that the results were not worth the cost of the huge combination of tax cuts, state aid and government programs.
In its first report to Congress on the stimulus, the White House Council on Economic Advisers said the economy was improving and would have been far worse without the stimulus.
"We have absolutely seen a change in trajectory," said Christina Romer, the top White House economic adviser.
Previous job estimates have been based on an economic model that was never intended to count jobs. In Thursday's report, the White House focused instead on a more common economic formula that tracks the relationship between jobs and the overall economy.
Wow! Did the White House hire some FASB leftovers to fudge those numbers? So if 1 million jobs have been saved and about $250 billion has been spent thus far, that works out to... hold on... $250,000 per job! Amazing!