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Federal Government: Putting the FU back in Fraud

November 12, 2009

There is a theme to today’s News to Use segment:  Fraud and Uncompetence. That’s right.  Un-competence.  New word;  you heard it here first.  Uncompetence is an unwillingness to act with competence towards a certain task, effort, obligation, or requirement.  In contrast to incompetence, when there is not sufficient skill, knowledge, or experience available, uncompetence is a quality associated with purposely not applying the requisite skill, knowledge, experience, etc. despite the availability of those characteristics.

It seems as if shortly after August of this year the federal government realized it would have to make good on the promise of a “new level of transparency.” To demonstrate the slimmest measure of accountability for the impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Administration distributed surveys to funding recipients for them to state how many jobs were created or saved with the money they were given.  The  ARRA (aka “the stimulus bill”) was purported to inject $787 Billion into the nation’s economy to “create or save jobs.”

Since first hearing that the ARRA would “create or save jobs” quants like me waited to see what kind of virtual math would be employed to determine this all-important metric of success.  I thought at the time that verifying that X amount of jobs were created alone would be a challenge, even with the rational understanding that the analysis would be far from perfect.  But to measure “saved jobs” …  That’s a good double-down strategy, but only if you’re willing to risk not being called on it.  Well, with increasing jobless numbers and Congress’ promise for more spending, it appears their bluff was called.

The articles below are from three local/regional news outlets around the country that provide a closer look at the number of created or saved jobs that the Obama Administration has recently been touting.  You have to work pretty hard to read any or all of these articles below and not feel affronted, annoyed, bent out of shape, boiling, cross, displeased, enraged, fighting mad, fit to be tied, fuming, furious, hopping mad, hot, huffy, in a tizzy, incensed, inflamed, infuriated, irate, irritated, livid, mad, maddened, offended, outraged, peed, peeved off, provoked, raging, riled, sore, steamed, steamed up, steaming, storming, t’d off, tee’d off, or ticked off.  … If you don’t experience one of these emotions, I’ll eat my hat.

Bird nest head

Stimulus dishonesty (San Diego Union-Tribune editorial, 11/11/09)

Stimulus job boost in state exaggerated, review finds (by Jenn Abelson and Todd Wallack, The Boston Globe, 11/11/09)

Calculating Jobs Saved Tough (by Katy Stech, The (Charleston) Post & Courier, 11/12/09)

  1. Biggest Fan permalink
    November 16, 2009 2:25 pm

    Please don’t eat your hat….I feel all those feelings and more.


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