Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Statistics Are Simple When You Simply Make Things Up

"Contrary to the President's constant disparagement of people in business, it's one of the noblest of human pursuits. The late Steve Jobs -- what a fitting name he had -- created more of them than all those stimulus dollars the President borrowed and blew."
--Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels
, 24 January 2012
Governor Mitch "Mr. Excitement" Daniels
In what was possibly the least charismatic appearance in a very long history of uncharismatic GOP speeches I've seen in my lifetime, Mitch Daniels droned the Republican rebuttal to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address last night.  The awkward reference to the meaning of Steve Jobs' name caught my attention momentarily because the Indiana Governor was obviously proud of his simplistic meaningless link between "Jobs" and "jobs".  But was there a grain of truth in what he said?  Of course not.

Click on the NPR Factchecking I heard on the radio this morning, or this New York Times blog entry from Paul Krugman, or this Truth Squad article from CNN.  The gist of all of them is this: Steve Jobs was a nice guy and Apple Computer is a successful corporation, but the statement doesn't even have a slight whiff of truthiness to it (though it will be accepted as the Fifth Gospel of the Bible by many GOPpers: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Mitch).  Apple has about 60 thousand employees (though it's not clear how many of them were added to the payroll since Barack Obama took office). The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the number of jobs added in the US due to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 at between 1.4 million to 3.3 million.

If my simple math is correct -- dividing 1.4M and 3.3M by 60K -- we can see that the stimulus bill the GOP loves to condemn created the employment equivalent of 23 to 55 new Apples. Don't let Mitch Daniels' boring style lull you into thinking that he's more serious, or less of a liar, than the clowns who did decide to join the GOP Primary circus this year.

(Governor Daniels was previously the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under George W. Bush. How much did his obvious innumeracy add to the economic disaster of those eight years?)

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