Friday, August 30, 2013

Corbett’s fuzzy math

People give Gov. Corbett a hard time for a lot of (well-deserved) reasons.  Sure, there’s the clockwork regularity of putting his foot in his mouth (Latinos, women can close their eyes during ultrasounds, now gay Pennsylvanians have been comparedto children); the rapid turnover of Cabinet Secretaries (these people are even leaving before being confirmed!); yeah he didn’t get any of his self-proclaimed priorities done by his self-proclaimed deadline (transportation, liquor privatization, pensions); and wow, those poll numbers --  so low they could double and 1/2 of Pennsylvanians still wouldn’t think he should be reelected.

But I’ll hand it to the Gov. Corbett, he sends out optimistic emails when most people would be depressed (I guess a South Carolina beach house helps!).

Wednesday (surely, while working from his oceanfront patio refreshed by a gentle sea breeze and a peach wine cooler [likely bought at Charleston’s Total Wines]) Gov. Corbett sent out an email proclaiming how impressive his role has been in Pennsylvania’s recovery.

The email said:

The commonwealth has added back more than 70% of the jobs lost during the recession, with the majority of that gain occurring during the Corbett administration.

But his claims and explanations aren’t quite accurate (although to be fair, I hear most of his fact-checkers are busy vetting new administration officials).  Corbett also said that “Since January 2011, Pennsylvania has created more than 130,000 private sector jobs, our unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since the recession, and the number of people working, at just over 6 million, is at its highest since April 2008.”

For some perspective, over 87,000 jobs were created in the final 12 months of the Rendell administration; and according to the Keystone Research Center’s analysis, only 86,600 jobs were created in the first 30 months of the Corbett administration.  

Put another way, the state recorded as many jobs in the first full year after the recession as it has in the subsequent two and a half years.  Check my math, but it seems like Corbett can only take credit for 48% of jobs created – which is not a majority.

Gov. Corbett was criticized last month for using some less-than-accurate jobs numbers, and since that criticism he’s only inflated them further.  Not to mention his claims are disingenuous, in that he doesn’t mention the 45,000 family-sustaining, public sector jobs lost during his tenure.

Maybe the governor is including the 40,000 transportation jobs that would have been created if the GOP had passed a transportation bill; or the tens of thousands of jobs that would be created if PA expanded Medicaid; or by reinstating the 20,000 education jobs lost due to his budget cuts; or the jobs saved by filling the posts of disgruntled employees’ in the administration; or hiring a single Latino. At this point I’m sure the governor is focused on only one job – his.