President Barack Obama has vowed his administration will save or create 600,000 jobs over the next 100 days.
That would be in addition to the 150,000 jobs Obama says were created since the $800 billion economic stimulus plan passed in February.
However, as NPR's John Ydstie pointed out in a report on Morning Edition today, there's considerable skepticism in some quarters about how the administration derives these figures and whether they're anywhere near an accurate depiction of the stimulus's effect.
An excerpt from John's report:
But a number of economists are uneasy with the precision the administration suggests....150 thousand jobs in the first 100 days, 600 thousand in the next hundred....Especially in the current uncertain and fluid economic environment.
"I don't buy such rules of thumb, I think they're frankly misleading.
That's Mickey Levy, chief economist at Bank America.
"I don't think there's any way to prove or dis-prove the number. I would say that the magnitude of deficit spending which is unprecedented during peacetime and the fact that it's being financed by our central bank basically printing money, should increase demand and it should increase jobs."
But Levy argues there's no way of knowing precisely how many or when.
"I do applaud the administration for it's objective for trying to stabilize the economy and it's role in encouraging people to look forward to recovery, but I find such estimates of jobs saved or jobs created a little on the silly side."
Which leads me to an interesting YouTube video. Someone with a penchant for numbers has put up humorous video to debunk Obama's job numbers. This person, who apparently wants to remain anonymous, has a blog called "Political Math." His point: that it's difficult to impossible to reconcile Obama's numbers with the available data.
If you like that video, you'll probably enjoy the others made apparently by the same person that are also found on YouTube under the name "1000pennies." One compares the effect of Obama's proposed spending on the national debt and cleverly envisions the growing debt as a road trip with various presidents at the wheel of the car.
Another uses volumes of water to compare Obama's proposed budget cuts, first $100 million, them $17 billion, to the president's $3.5 trillion proposed budget for 2010.
Another video dealing with Obama's budget cuts as a proportion of his proposed budget has more than 859,000 views on YouTube:
We await the Obama Administration's equally entertaining YouTube videos rebutting "1000pennies."