It doesn’t take a mathematician to realize the gap between 2.6 million and 366,000 is significant, yet the smaller of the two figures is the one that President George Bush would like the country to focus on. The one thing the figures do have in common is the fact that both were projections about the number of jobs available in the United States. Again, Bush would prefer the public forget about the 2.6 million new jobs he predicted would be available this year, versus today’s numbers. With the election lingering around the corner, it would appear that Bush is focusing more on ways to save his own job instead of the millions he promised Americans.
The outlandish forecast was placed in the spotlight while Treasury Secretary John W. Snow and Commerce Secretary Don Evans were touring Oregon and Washington for the sake of promoting the president’s economic agenda. The Associated Press reported that when asked, Snow and Evans declined to comment on or endorse the prediction.
According AP, White House press secretary Scott McClellan danced around the issue of the number of available jobs not meeting Bush’s predictions. The prediction was contained in the annual Economic Report, which was based on data from three months ago, McClellan told AP. When directly asked about the miscalculation, McClellan said, “The president is interested in actual jobs being created rather than economic modeling.” He also quoted Bush as saying, “I’m not a statistician. I’m not a predictor.”
“We are interested in reality,” McClellan also said. The reality of the situation is that since Bush has been in office, the nation has lost close to 2.2 million jobs. Even if he had created the originally projected 2.6 million jobs, that means 400,000 jobs total would have been created if the lost ones were subtracted.
The issue comes in the wake of White House economist N. George Mankiw announcing that outsourcing American jobs was “not a bad thing” and would ultimately benefit the U.S. economy.
“The number crunchers will do their job,” McClellan told AP. “The president’s job is to make sure we’re creating as robust an environment as possible for job-creation.” Well, if it isn’t the president’s job, then why did he make it a cornerstone of his campaign?
While 366,000 jobs are certainly better than none and the economy has been stronger lately, it appears downright suspicious on the president’s part to not admit to his nation when he can’t meet promises he shouldn’t have made in the first place. While McClellan said the president “is most concerned about whether people are hurting and able to find jobs,” it seems misleading to make projections that have no basis in reality in order to protect his own.